Thursday, August 8, 2013

Italian Pork Sausages with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes

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Joel is a big fan of grapes. The Baron is a big fan of sausages. So as a challenge to myself, I figured I'd find a way to combine the two. We recently had way more grapes than Joel could eat and with some Italian pork sausages on hand, I wanted a new way to prepare them. Thankfully, browsing online has helped because I could combine both grapes and sausage together deliciously. This Italian Pork Sausages with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes is a result of that and I surprised myself how good it came out. Roasted Italian sausages lie on a bed of rosemary and garlic infused mashed potatoes and gets a finishing touch of sweet grapes and balsamic reduction...

I normally wouldn't have thought about cooking with fresh grapes because it's just one of those things I would prefer to just eat as is. But after making this dish, I have opened up myself to cooking more with grapes. This recipe was quick to prepare and incorporated some things I normally don't do...

For one, making a rosemary and garlic infused oil is involved. You could make this oil in advance and just keep on hand for recipes. It's a nice way to add some flavor and using it in place of the usual butter in mashed potatoes was a delicious change of pace.

Secondly, roasting grapes. They go especially well with balsamic vinegar and I love how roasting grapes really bring out a complexity I was surprised to find. I'll have to see how roasting green grapes will do and pairing that with a white balsamic vinegar.

Have you cooked with grapes much? Any other recipes you can recommend involving cooking or roasting them?

Italian Pork Sausages with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes
recipe adapted from Plated

1 russet potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 springs rosemary
12 ounces Italian pork sausage links
2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large pot, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and add rosemary leaves from 1 spring, 1 pinch slat, and smashed garlic cloves. Heat until oil starts to simmer, about 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Cover and set aside to steep.

In an ovenproof frying pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add sausages and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes.

Add grapes and remaining rosemary sprig to the pan with sausage and stir gently to coat with hot oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and transfer pan to preheated oven, about 10 minutes.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add the garlic rosemary oil and mash well. Add warm heavy cream to make creamy mashed potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer only the sausages to a platter and discard rosemary sprig. In the pan over medium high heat, add the balsamic vinegar to the remaining roasted grapes and juices. Cook until the sauce reduces, about 4 minutes.

To serve, plate mashed potatoes and top with sausage, along with the roasted grape and balsamic sauce.

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