It's difficult to find sweet summer tomatoes now. My friend Linnea spent an hour or so at the Chester Farmers Market two weeks ago and found a dozen ears of corn and decided to parboil them, dunk them in ice water, slice the kernels, and freeze them for the winter. I've done the same with 10 or 12 dozen ears. In February, I'll make corn fritters and chowder and remember the deliciousness of last summer.
But, no matter how warm it may be outside (up in the high 70s for a few days in mid-October), fall has arrived and, with it, some nippy evenings in which I have turned on the electric blanket (only up to "2" on each of the remotes, one for me and one for the cats). I'm still wearing sandals, though, which I will continue 'til it snows.
While most of my food magazines have pictures of big turkeys on their covers, with ideas for even more recipes for Brussels sprouts and desserts using pumpkin, I'm looking for other articles, like one called "Midwest Revival" in November's issue of Food & Wine. I love, love, love sausage, whether pork, beef, chicken, or turkey (although the pork ones are my favorite). I looked at a recipe including smoked sausage, a chipotle chile (a smoked jalapeno), apples, hard cider, brown sugar, and broccoli (for the health of it). I made it. It is so incredibly delicious that it will become a star recipe for many winters to come.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smoked Pork Sausage with Hard-Cider Sauce
From Jack Riebel, chef of Butcher and the Boar, Minneapolis (Food & Wine, November 2013)
1 dried chipotle chile (I used one from a can of chipotle in adobe, so no softening was necessary)
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored
Half a Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into matchsticks for garnish (optional)
2 ounces rye bread, crusts removed and turn into bite-sized pieces (1 cup)
½ cup hard cider
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4, 4-ounce smoked pork sausage or cheddar wursts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl cover the chipotle with hot water and let stand until softened, 30 minutes. Bake the halved apples cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes, until tender. Let cool. Scoop the apple pulp into a food processor and discard the skins. Stem, seed, and chop the chipotle; add to the food processor and puree.
Meanwhile, spread the bread in a pie plate and bake the pieces for about 10 minutes, until golden.
In a saucepan, boil hard cider with the vinegar, sugar, and apple purée. Simmer, stirring, until reduced to ¾ cup, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.
Light a grill. Grill sausages over moderate heat, turning, until lightly charred on both sides and cooked through, 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. (I sautéed the sausages in a skillet on the stove.)
In a skillet, heat oil until simmering. Add broccoli and season with salt. Cover and cook until browned, 2 minutes. Stir in mustard, caraway, cider sauce, and ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and season with salt. Serve sausages with broccoli and sauce, garnishing with the bread crumbs and apple sticks.