Turkey Sausage with Fennel Sauerkraut and Potatoes

Growing up, my mom would make corned beef with cabbage and potatoes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We aren’t Irish, but it just seems like the thing to do, right? The first year Ryan and I lived together, I tried to carry on this tradition, and he was a good sport about trying it. Unfortunately, he hated it. I think it’s the only thing I’ve ever made him that he has requested I never ever make again. Last year I didn’t make anything special, but apparently the fear is still there that he might come home one day to find this meal waiting for him. In fact, this year, he asked me in January, “You’re not going to make corned beef and cabbage again this year, are you?” I guess even two years later he it still scarred.

Since the traditional (in the US) St. Patrick’s Day meal is no longer an option for us, I wanted to look for something else we could try. This time I decided to ask Ryan for input so that we could both take the blame if it was a flop. After looking at a few different recipes, we decided on this dish from Eating Well’s website. As per usual, even with the best intentions, we did not end up eating this last Thursday. We ended up going out for Chinese food, and neither of us was even wearing green. Oops. I did not want to let this meal pass us by though, so I ended up making it over the weekend instead.

I honestly had no idea what to expect when taking my first bite. This is not a combination of ingredients that I have ever tried before, and it was also my first time ever cooking with fennel, so it was completely foreign territory for us which was kind of exciting. I grew up eating sauerkraut, and I have an apparently rare fondness for it. Ryan does not feel the same way, so I kept calling this “sausage with potatoes and cabbage,” hoping he wouldn’t relate the dish to sauerkraut and hate it before he even tasted it. I was pretty nervous about the results while it was cooking though because it smelled of vinegar, and I was sure he would not like it.

As we both took the first bite, neither of us knew what to think. We both said something like it’s not bad, but we weren’t sure we liked it either. After a few more bites, however, it grew on us, and we both ended up liking the meal quite a bit. I was even told that this would be a St. Patrick’s Day tradition Ryan could get behind. The flavors were a bit more subtle than I expected, which was a nice surprise. Even though it’s not something I would have ever thought of myself, everything works together really well.

Turkey Sausage with Fennel Sauerkraut and Potatoes

2 links turkey Italian sausage
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red potatoes, diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, turning often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the sausage to a cutting board and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. (The sausage will not be thoroughly cooked, but it will continue cooking later.)

Add the oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add cabbage, sliced fennel, onion, garlic powder, fennel seed and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage has wilted slightly, about 3 minutes more.

Add broth, vinegar and mustard. Stir to incorporate the mustard; bring to a simmer. Place the sausage on top of the cabbage mixture; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

2 servings
Source: Eating Well

March 22, 2011. recipes.

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