Not the same old grind
Making the case for dinner-worthy sausage
Thursday, March 8, 2001
Chicken and Apple Sausage Makes about 4 pounds 1 cup apple cider 3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs with skin (about 4 1/2 pounds with bones), or 3 1/4 pounds ground chicken 3 ounces dried apples, coarsely chopped 4 teaspoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons dried sage 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water Place the apple cider in a small nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced almost to a syrup. There should be about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Set aside to cool. If you are using chicken thighs, coarsely grind with a 3/8-inch plate the boned chicken and skin or chop coarsely in batches in a food processor. (This is most easily accomplished if the chicken is very cold.) Transfer the ground chicken to a large bowl and add the cooled cider, apples, salt, black pepper, sage, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and dissolved bouillon. Knead and squeeze the mixture until well-blended. Fry a small patty until done and taste for salt, pepper and other seasonings. Divide the sausage into 7 or 8 portions (each about 1/2 pound), wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Will keep 3 days in refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. When ready to cook, place the patties in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary according to thickness ofthe patties. Rotini With Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Balsamic Vinegar Makes 4 servings 1 pound broccoli rabe or broccoli, heads trimmed and separated into florets 3/4 pound dried rotini, rotelle, fusilli or other curly pasta 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage, homemade or good-quality store-bought, removed from casings 1 onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, deveined and chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish In a small amount of salted, boiling water in a tightly covered saucepan, steam the broccoli rabe or broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure not to overcook; the broccoli should be bright green and very crisp. Cool under cold running water, drain and reserve. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes; drain and reserve. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and fry for 3 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked broccoli rabe or broccoli and the balsamic vinegar and stir well to mix everything together. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender but still crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the sausage-broccoli mixture to a large serving bowl. Toss with the pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot or at room temperature.