While I’m pretty good about cleaning up after myself when cooking at a leisurely (weekend) pace, I’ve been known to leave quite the debris field in my wake when slamming to get a weeknight meal on the table for the family. And so, my wife loves it when I make a one pot meal on a weeknight, especially one that is as tasty as this one. You see, while we have a rotating schedule of kitchen duties that gives everyone a chance to be a sous-chef, table cleaner, pot washer, or drier, it seems that my wife more often than not swaps duties with one of the kids and finds herself up to her elbows in soap suds cleaning up the mess I’ve left in the kitchen.
Imagine her glee then, when she discovered that this meal was not even gonna be a one pot meal for her to clean. The fact is, our large cast iron skillet weighs about 350 pounds, and so I end up cleaning it myself to avoid the risk of her throwing her back out trying to lift the thing. With just a fork, a cutting board, a chef’s knife, and a large skillet to clean, this dish goes from prep to on the table in about 40 minutes. That’s pretty good for a meal that has such complex flavors, and oozes comfort the way this one does. It has all the characteristics of a great braise, but can be pulled-off in a fraction of the time most take, that’s what we call a win-win around here.
Make this dish your own by substituting in various types of sausages (I bet lamb sausage would be awesome), adding some different herbs just before service, or tossing in some nuts and dried fruit if you prefer. Have fun!
Cheers – Steve
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 8-12 links sweet Italian sausage, pricked with a fork *
- 1 large sweet onion (or 2 medium sized), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- Kosher salt
- 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
- 30-40 seedless red grapes, halved
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
- * depending on the size of the sausages, allow 1-2 per person, and you can certainly use different types of sausages to suit your taste. We used a combination of sweet Italian, hot Italian, and chicken sausages.
- Prick the sausages a few times with the tines of a fork, doing so will allow them to release some of their juices and infuse the broth.
- Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large 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.
- Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the sliced onion to the pan, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens completely and starts to turn light-medium brown, about 7-9 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits.
- Reduce heat to achieve a gentle simmer (medium-low or low depending on your stovetop). Add the sausages and grapes, cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through (slice into one to check), about 25 minutes.
- Test for seasoning and serve immediately, sprinkled with the oregano, and with a loaf of rustic bread and a simple green salad alongside.