Thursday, October 14, 2010

RECIPE: Sausage Apple Dish

I haven't had time to cook a meal in the last few weeks. Literally. I haven't been allowed. But, at last, I was able to put something together. A crockpot meal.

Yes, my first crockpot meal.

Better yet, I misread the box as saying "Crackpot." Classy. But appropriate.

Anyway, I didn't have time to make something yesterday evening, and I knew even while promising to make something that I wouldn't have time to, so I had the brilliance of inquiring after (and acquiring, as matters would have it) a crockpot the night before. So, at 10pm Tuesday night, I began.

The recipe I ended up choosing was ridiculous. Well, maybe not completely ridiculous. But it was excessively simple. It called for (and I quote this from memory):

1 x 20 oz can of apple pie filling
1 lb sausage patties, browned
1/4 cup water

I though this a rather sad idea, so I set about revamping the recipe.

Sausage Apple Dish of Fall Goodness

3 granny-smith apples, peeled & chopped small (1/4 in thick, 1/2 in across)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 (or 3) cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 x 10 oz cans cream of chicken
1 lb beef sausage, sliced thin
1/2 bag frozen corn
marsala cooking wine
1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
olive oil

First, I chopped the apples and, since I wasn't going to actually start the crockpot until the morning, I threw them into a storage container and mixed them with the cream of chicken, brown sugar, spices, herbs, and a touch of sherry I had left in the cupboard and wanted to use up. I packed the container to the top with the corn and put it in the fridge.

I then moved on to the savory side of the mix, sautéing the onion and garlic in a large saucepan in a little bit of olive oil (until the onions were soft and the garlic slightly browned). I shifted these off of the heat and pan-fried the sausage in some more olive oil until brown. A whole pound of sausage might seem like quite a lot, and it takes a while to cook (I browned mine in two batches), but believe me it's the best part of the dish--a pound of sausage was not enough between the four people we had at dinner. Once the sausage was cooked, I let it cool somewhat and then put it in a container with the onions, garlic, and teriyaki sauce, and put it in the fridge with the apples.

Around 11am the next morning, I made it home long enough to plug in the crockpot. The apple mixture went in first, topped with the sausage, a good dose of marsala cooking wine, and a dash of pepper. I set the crockpot to low and left, wondering for the next 5 hours whether I had set it up right. Having never used a crockpot, I was worried that a) it wasn't on (it was still cool to the touch when I left), and b) whether it would set the house on fire. Lo and behold, nothing of the kind happened, and when I went to taste the mixture it was quite flavorful in all the right ways.

Now, I cook low-salt and low-fat, so some people may like a touch more sodium and fat in their meal, but this was an adventure that worked out well for my taste buds. The herbs--particularly the fennel--and the spices--particularly the cardamom--give the meal a real warmth and richness, while the apples and sugar add a tolerable dose of sweetness to the savory and the teriyaki and ginger a bit of liveliness and verve. The dish turned out quite juicy, which was just fine since I served it over rice (short grain white). Everyone commented on it, which was good, and no one threw up afterwords.

VERDICT: a conscientious crackpot success!

Apologies for the grainy photo. The only camera I had to hand was a phone.


  1. Hmmm... interesting! I'm glad to hear that it worked out! I'll have to try it sometime... :)

  2. Not throwing up is always good.
    I wanted a crockpot all last year, but never got one. But I will get one someday.

  3. When cooking with a crockpot, you always use way less liquid than you would any other cooking method. Strange, but true.