A Classic Italian Combo

Meat and fruit. Like prosciutto and figs or melon, sausage and grapes is a fabulous and unexpected medley of flavors and textures. Sautéed Sausages with Grapes and Balsamic Glazed Onions consists of only a few ingredients, is simple to make, and tastes wonderful! What’s not to love? Definitely a dish you should try. And while it is bursting with flavor, it is not spicy at all.

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The addition of balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions turns this into a quick, warming braise—perfect for a late-Fall or Winter evening. Piercing the sausages with the tines of a fork will allow them to release some of their juices and infuse the broth. My imagination did not prepare me for the utter simplicity of the dish: beautifully browned sausages nestled on a bed of cooked grapes that were in varying stages of doneness. Bellissimo!

That being said, there were a few differences in our dish when compared to the directions. Our package of sausage was only 6 links and 1 1/4 pounds, but plentiful enough for two adults, with leftovers. And since our red grapes were on the small side, I sliced about 50 (instead of just 20, which seemed miserly).

Finally, in the last step, you’re supposed to leave it covered (slightly ajar) for the full 25 minutes. But in my humble opinion, the liquid was too thin and I wanted to reduce it down and thicken a tad so I uncovered for the last 12 minutes or so.

Polenta was the original intended side dish, but we had had it twice already that week, so I made some sliced skillet potatoes with diced shallots—and they were fabulous Dahling! To make it even more Italian, use a mix of red and green grapes.

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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 links sweet Italian sausage (about 1-3/4 lb.), pricked with a fork
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 20 seedless red grapes, halved
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano

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Directions

  1. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat until it’s shimmering. Add the sausages and cook, turning every couple minutes, until they’re browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.
  2. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the onion to the pot, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens completely and starts to turn light brown, about 7 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits.
  3. Reduce to a gentle simmer (medium-low or low depending on your stovetop). Add the sausages and grapes, cover the pot with the lid ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through (slice into one to check), about 25 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the oregano.

by Tony Rosenfeld from Big Buy Cooking

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