Roasted Sausages and Grapes
Serves 6-8 as entrée or 12 as appetizer
2-1/2 pounds Italian sausages, (hot, sweet, or a combination) made from pork, turkey, or chicken
2-1/2 pounds seedless grapes (red or white or a combination), washed and stemmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus 1 tablespoon unmelted
6 garlic cloves, peeled and cut lengthwise in quarters
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Serving suggestions: mashed potatoes, polenta, or cooked farro for entrée, toasted baguette slices for appetizer
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prick the sausages with a fork, then put them in a single layer in a large skillet. Add enough cold water to cover the sausages and bring to just boiling over high heat. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover the pan, and poach for 15 minutes. This will remove some of the fat and ensure that the sausages get completely cooked in the oven. Remove the sausages from the water and let them cool for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the grapes, melted butter, garlic slivers, and some salt and pepper in a large roasting pan, preferably one that can also go on the stove top. Toss well to mix and set aside.
At this point, you’ll have to decide whether to slice the sausages or not. For an entrée you can leave them whole or cut them in half or quarters. For an appetizer, slice the sausages into about 1/2-inch thick pieces.
Add the sausages to the roasting pan, pressing the sausages down to the bottom of the pan. Put the pan in the oven and roast for about a half hour total. If you’ve sliced the sausages, you’ll want to stir the pan up a few times during cooking. If they’re whole or in pieces, turn them over once halfway through cooking. The sausages should be nicely browned, otherwise cook for a little longer.
Remove the pan from the oven, and use a slotted spoon to remove the sausages and grapes to a bowl or platter. Place the roasting pan over one or two burners on the stove and turn the burners on to medium-high heat. (If you’ve used a ceramic roasting dish, pour the liquid into a saucepan instead, scraping up as much of anything on the bottom of the roasting pan as you can.) Add the wine and balsamic vinegar and scrape up the bottom. Boil for a few minutes to reduce and then add the last tablespoon of butter. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the sausages, and serve. Use the bread to make bruschette for appetizers. For an entrée, serve with something to help sop up the juices.