Thursday, January 27, 2011

spicy italian sausage

In yesterday's post I mentioned that I usually love the creative inspiration of cooking whatever I found in the box or in the fridge, and that, not the cost savings, is one of the main reasons I like to participate in our CSA.

Our meat CSA usually doesn't quite work that way - in a "best of both worlds" arrangement I get to pick and choose my meat from a larger CSA assortment of over 25 lbs of frozen meat. So I get the "ooh, yay, there's a brisket!" moments and still get to plan what meats inspire me, at least a little bit. But the last meat delivery, I got without personally going to choose things - the friend who I share the distribution asked me for some guidance and then dropped off the meat at my front door. Mostly a big favor (thanks, Megan!) but in this case, landed me with a package of hot Italian sausage - our least favorite of the sausage varieties, although I did say "I'll take some sausage, since that makes a quick easy meal."

My standby meal is to just bake the sausages with potatoes and eat them, but the spicy ones are too spicy for me to want to eat forkfuls of. (Plus, too spicy for a certain little girl to be willing to eat at all.) I'm pleased with how I've wound up using it as in ingredient so far, though.

Step 1: I cooked the sausages plain in a covered cast iron frying pan on medium-low heat. (This gets the skins nicely browned and crispy but by covering the pan, contains enough heat that they cook through, if you do it patiently.) This makes fully cooked sausage ready to add to whatever you want.

The first one was sliced into a quart of potato leek and arugula soup that I had previously frozen - small bits of sausage added plenty of protein, and the seasoning was subtle.

The second one went into some very quick burritos. Yes, they were supposed to be "Italian" but mostly they are just the right level of spicy to read as a spicy Mexian sausage if one isn't shooting for authentic - chopped into cubes, reheated with leftover cooked squash and some garlic, and put into some flour tortillas with cheese melted on them along with salsa and Greek yogurt-as-sour-cream.

The third one will probably get sliced onto a pair of sandwiches, maybe with roasted red pepper and sauteed onion if I am feeling inspired.

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