There is something about sausage around here. I noticed it when I first moved here. People would sit in ice shacks, fishing, cooking garlic-laced sausage on the wood stove and then eating hot pieces with their fingers, juice dripping down their fingers. "Who made this sausage?" "What kind of sausage is this?" "This is good sausage." It was the last punctuation point to the annual deer hunt. A winter ode to the fall rifle shots heard in the hills.
We don't eat sausage very frequently. I think of it as our "fast food." Something by which supper can be made quickly and easily. It's easy to grill or simply just fry. And ultimately versatile in its serving pairings. Rice, potatoes, noodles, or wrapped in a piece of bread. It all works!
Back home, the sausage of choice is farmer's sausage. A Mennonite favourite, dry, salt and pepper for seasoning and a cast of smoke. Nothing complicated and easily brought to the table. Mustard or schmauntfaut are the perfect accompaniments for the knack when you bite into each piece.
Today's easy supper features this lovely main. With fried onion. Sauteed potatoes, bread and herbs. Marinated vegetable salad with white wine and mustard dressing.
How to? First, wash and cube the potatoes. Parboil until just softening. Wash, cut and dry vegetables. Choices for this night's supper, found in the refrigerator, were carrot, broccoli, asparagus, snow pea, mushroom and jicama. I blanched the asparagus in the microwave and then chill in cold water. Then pat dry. Also peel and cut one sweet onion into thick slices.
While the asparagus blanches, I take this opportunity to cut the sausage into chunks and cut lengthwise. I put two cast iron pans to heat, one at medium heat and the other at med-low heat. Once heated, I put the sausages in the medium heat pan, cut side down, still hinged.
Drain the potatoes well. Put in the second fry pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until the surface are becoming golden brown and there are tasty little golden bits starting to accumulate in the bottom of the pan. Carefully put into a serving bowl and keep warm. A trick I learned from my mother-in-law is that the microwave is a great place to keep things warm for longer. A kind of warming oven.
While watching the potatoes and sausage every so often, mix the salad's dressing. Here I took olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard powder, fresh black pepper, salt and some fresh oregano. Mix with a fork to emulsify. Place the vegetables in a serving bowl, pour dressing over and mix.
Remove the sausage and keep warm. Give the pan a quick wipe with a cloth to remove any blacker bits. Dab some butter, turn down the heat to med-low, and slowly sauté the onions in their slice rounds. Cook until soft, slumpy and caramel brown. Again, remove from pan and keep warm
Take two slices of bread out, preferable bread that is a day or two old. Pick some herbs from the garden or from the pantry. Cube the bread, slice the herbs. Drizzle a little more olive oil into the second cast-iron pan. Put the bread to toast in the second pan the potatoes were fried in. Crack pepper and sprinkle salt on top. You can set the table here, being mindful of that fact the bread is toasting in the pan.
We use the bread in several ways. I like to mix it with the fried potato cubes, sprinkle on the salad as croutons or just a little pile to alternate with mouthfuls of sausage.
Remember to grab some hot mustard from the fridge as you're walking by to set the table. Hot mustard will make this meal! And with that, wipe your hands; you are done! Supper is cooked, hot and ready. This meal takes me about 30-40 minutes to prepare, again depending on any fights I may have to offer negotiator services, milk spills and/or cranky toddlers who need to be carried for half of supper preparation. One-armed stirring and cooking can slow you up significantly!
And please tell me what your favourite sausage recipe is! I love to hear about other's top food choices. I have a hard time from refraining from asking that question of pretty much anyone I meet. Your feedback is completely welcome as it's the answer to the constant question niggling. And hey, it might just make it's way to tonight's supper!