On to the main course...Roasted Sausages & Grapes with Truffled Mashed Potatoes
Both of these recipes come from Ina Garten, an amazing cook with a plethora of cookbooks, all of which are of course sitting above our stove! Most of her recipes I love as is, but with these, I'd make a few changes here and there. Nothing much, just something to make them a little more 'me.'
The first was my mistake, I forgot to make the balsamic vinegar reduction. While I still loved the combined flavors of the sausages and grapes, I definitely think that the reduction would have added that little 'something' that I thought was missing.
I was thrilled to make the truffled mashed potatoes. It is a dream of mine to go truffle hunting in the French countryside, hogs at my side, searching for these subterranean mushrooms. The joke? Tommy Engstrom hates mushrooms. Is it the texture? Is it the taste? It is the fact that my palate has yet to mature enough to enjoy the wonderful nuances of fungi? I am not quite sure. However, truffles? I LOVE this mushroom!
The only change that I would make to this recipe is the type of potato used. The recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes. These potatoes tend to make a creamier texture in mashed potatoes, some may enjoy this. I like my mashed potatoes firmer, with more structure. That being said, I will be using Idaho potatoes (Russet potatoes) the next time I make this recipe.
So yes, this meal was delicious. A few changes would be made in the second round. This week's meal is slowly coming to an end...but have no fear. I have by far saved the best for last...what is it? I can't tell you quite yet! Perhaps there will be a hint of two on Facebook tomorrow.
Until next time...happy eating!
Roasted Sausages & Grapes Serves 5 to 6
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian pork sausages 1 1/2 pounds hot Italian pork sausages 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 1/2 pounds seedless green grapes, removed from the stems 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the sausages, and simmer for 8 minutes to remove some of the fat. Remove to a plate.
- Melt the butter in a large (12 X 15-inch) roasting pan on top of the stove. Add the grapes and toss them to coat with butter. Transfer the sausages to the roasting pan with tongs, nestling them down in the grapes in one layer. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the sausages once, until they're browned and the grapes are tender.
- Transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter with tongs and a slotted spoon and cover with aluminum foil to keep them hot. Add the balsamic vinegar to the roasting pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes to reduce the balsamic vinegar slightly. Pour over the sausages and grapes and serve hot.
Truffled Mashed Potatoes Serves 6
2 1/2 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes*** 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter 3 ounces white truffle butter, at room temperature 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
***Yukon Gold potatoes make it very creamy, I prefer a thicker consistency for mashed potatoes and would use Idaho potatoes instead.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them in 1-inch chunks. Place them in a large, deep saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, heat the half-and-half and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Off the heat, add the truffle butter and allow it to melt. If the butter doesn't melt completely, heat the mixture slightly but don't allow the truffles to cook!
- Beat the hot potatoes in the pot until they are broken up. Slowly beat in most of the hot truffle cream, the Parmesan, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and beat until the potatoes are thick and smooth. (You may have some truffle cream left over; reserve it for reheating.)
- To keep the potatoes hot or to reheat them, place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat slowly, adding more truffle cream if the potatoes get too thick. Season to taste and serve hot.