I’ve devised a food day that will surely please my father on his 89th birthday. A long-retired butcher, my dad has marked many special occasions making and cooking sausage. From the family’s paprika and garlicky Hungarian pork sausage, to grilled veal bratwurst and thuringer buried in sauerkraut, the man enjoys it all.
It’s not difficult to enjoy the rich, flavorful indulgence of sausage all day long — morning to night.
Start the day with a skillet breakfast with sliced sausages or whole browned sausages served alongside. For lunch, another one-skillet meal. The recipe here features farmers market cabbages, tangy sauerkraut and full-bodied kielbasa. After a stroll in the park, we’ll sip a glass of wine while munching on peppered salami (remember, it’s a sausage too) that’s been crisped in a moderate oven.
Sausage, highly seasoned minced meat mixed with a bit of fat, typically gets stuffed into casings made from cleaned animal intestines. Occasionally, I make my own blend and unearth the sausage stuffer from the cabinet. Mostly, I simply cook the seasoned meat, sans added fat and casings, over moderately high heat to render it moist and delicious.
For dinner, a free-form, casing-free sausage made from freshly ground lamb, Kalamata olives and plenty of fresh herbs comes together quickly. Serve the lamb sausage with a robust tomato dipping sauce and a side of basmati rice. Or, remove the sausage from skewers and serve it wrapped in warm pitas topped with the tomato sauce and paper thin slices of cucumber.
It’s a menu a dad could love.
Lamb and Kalamata Sausages With Minted Tomato Sauce
Use coconut aminos (available at Whole Foods or on the internet) to season the dipping sauce if you are avoiding soy. Serve the kebabs with basmati rice, or try cauliflower rice sauteed with garlic, cumin, salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, trimmed, halved, rinsed, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) unsalted crushed tomatoes, undrained
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons coconut aminos or 1 or 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, see note
1/3 cup finely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
1 pound ground lamb
Immerse six 12-inch long bamboo or wooden skewers in a dish full of water; let soak about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and leek. Cook and stir until leek is softened and a bit golden on the edges, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer half of the leek to a bowl.
Add the tomatoes to the leek remaining in the skillet. Put over medium heat, and stir in half of the garlic, the coconut aminos (or soy), cumin and red pepper flakes. Simmer until thickened to the consistency of ketchup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in mint, taste for seasoning, adding salt as needed. Cool.
Stir egg, breadcrumbs, olives, parsley, remaining garlic, lemon zest, lamb and 1 teaspoon salt into the leek in the bowl. Use clean hands to mix lightly until mixture is homogenous. Shape about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture into a log about 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long. Repeat to make 12 sausage logs. Run a skewer through the long ends of the logs, putting 2 on each skewer. Place the skewers on an oiled perforated broiler pan or rack set over a baking sheet. (Uncooked sausages can be refrigerated up to several hours.)
Heat oven to 400 degrees on convection or 425 degrees conventional. Cook skewered sausages, turning once, until the juices run clear, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve hot with the tomato sauce on the side for dipping. Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Note: If desired, substitute gluten-free old-fashioned oats for the breadcrumbs. Simply put the oats into a food processor and process with on/off turns to chop them finely before using.
Nutrition information per serving (for 6 servings): 293 calories, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 81 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 17 g protein, 727 mg sodium, 4 g fiber
Egg and Sausage Skillet
Change up this recipe as you see fit, using cooked vegetables, various sausage flavors and greens as you like and have on hand. Cooked, diced potato (or sweet potato) makes a great addition. Warm cornbread muffins are great accompaniments.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
4 links fully cooked spicy Italian chicken sausage
1 cup chopped raw asparagus or chopped cooked broccoli
2 cups (about 3 ounces) baby kale, spinach or arugula
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
Red pepper hot sauce
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, mushrooms and onions. Cook and stir until mushrooms are tender and nicely golden on the edges, about 10 minutes.
Push the mushrooms to one side of the pan and add the sausages. Cook, turning, until the sausages are heated through and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.
Stir the asparagus, kale and salt into the mushrooms. Cook and stir over medium heat to lightly wilt the kale. Then use a spoon to make 6 indentations in the vegetable mixture. Crack an egg into each indentation. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook until egg whites turn opaque and yolks are barely set, about 5 minutes.
Use a flexible spatula to transfer a nest of vegetables and egg to serving plates. Serve with the sausages and hot sauce. Makes 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 405 calories, 28 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 344 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 30 g protein, 894 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
Sausage Supper With Whole Grain Mustard and Garlic
3 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil
1 large (10 ounces) sweet onion, chopped
1 half head of (about 10 ounces total) savoy cabbage, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 6 cups
4 to 6 leaves lacinato kale, cores removed, leaves cut into 1 inch pieces, about 3 cups
2 red poblano or Anaheim peppers (or 1 small red bell pepper), cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound refrigerated sauerkraut, drained, well-rinsed, drained again
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Freshly cracked black pepper
12 ounces uncured fully cooked kielbasa, cut on bias into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons each, chopped: parsley, chives
Heat a large (12-inch) deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon fat or oil, onion, cabbage, kale, red peppers and salt. Cook until cabbage and kale are wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in sauerkraut; cook and stir 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic, mustard, horseradish and pepper to taste; cook 2 minutes. Stir in sausage. Cook and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with herbs and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 236 calories, 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 12 g protein, 1,232 mg sodium, 5 g fiber
Peppered Salami Crisps
Arrange a single layer of thinly sliced peppered salami on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Place in a 325-degree oven until heated through and glazed, about 10 minutes. Let cool on the rack; salami will crisp as it cools. Serve at room temperature.