Sausage and Pepper Subs

Up until a few years ago I had it in my head that I hated sausage.  The only types of sausage I would eat were certain kinds of breakfast sausage, and chorizo.  I have a feeling that my aversion to sausage mostly stemmed from the way they looked, rather than the taste- although I must have tried some kind of sausage at some point when I was little- I did learn the lesson of “never judge a book by it’s cover”, you know.  Anywho, at some point a few years ago, I was at a party where one of the dishes was a dish of traditional Italian sausage and peppers.  Not wanting to be rude, I took a small amount onto my plate, and tried the tiniest bit, and lo and behold, it was delicious, so delicious that I went back for more, and more.  Since then, my aversion has mostly disappeared! (Except for those weird looking white knackwursts and blood sausage- someday maybe…..)

So…. sausage and peppers- delicious, n’est pas?  ….and when I saw that both Italian pork sausages and bell peppers were on sale this week, it seemed like fate was pushing me in that direction.  I’ve never made sausage and peppers before, so I scoured the web for a recipe that sounded good, and there were plenty.  I knew I wanted to make sandwiches with them since I had purchased two amazing tasting mini garlic-herb baguettes from Whole Foods, and so I was also looking for a specific sausage and pepper recipe having to do with sandwiches.  I finally came upon one on foodnetwork.com from Rachel Ray- before you scoff, now she may be annoying at times, but every recipe of hers I have ever tried has been good, and the idea of getting dinner on the table quick is always welcome when you usually don’t get home from work until after 5.  Also, this recipe called for a few hot cherry peppers, and spiciness always calls out to me, so I couldn’t look away… and these were excellent, so my stomach walked away satisfied.

Sausage and Pepper Subs
Serves: 2-3 (2 large servings with leftovers, or 3 reasonable servings)

Ingredients:
1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow, or a combination), seeded and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2-3 jarred hot cherry peppers, finely chopped
3 tbsp hot cherry pepper juice, from the jar
Rolls for serving
Directions:
1. Pierce the sausage casings with a fork, and place them in a large skillet.  Add 1-inch of water to the pan.  Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat, cover the sausages, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
2. Heat another (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium heat.  Add the oil, and then garlic, onion, and bell peppers, to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. Drain the sausages, and return them to the pan, raising the heat to medium-high.  Add a drizzle of oil to the pan, and cook the sausages until the casings are brown and crisp- turning every so often to get all sides.  Remove the sausages, cut into 2 inch pieces at an angle, and put the sausages back into the pan to sear on all sides.
4. Add the sausages into the pan with the pepper and onion mixture.  Add the hot cherry peppers and pepper juice to the pan.  Mix together.
5. Serve on rolls, toasted if desired.

Notes:
  • Rachel Ray’s original recipe calls for a mixture of 2 cubanelle peppers and 1 red bell pepper.  This would be great as well, but I didn’t have any cubanelles on hand.  This recipe lends itself to any combination of peppers you want though.  You can do green, red, yellow, orange, cubanelle- even poblano would probably be good.  Also, in place of the hot cherry peppers, you can use banana peppers or pepperoncini.
  • The original recipe calls for 3/4 pound of sweet Italian sausage, and 3/4 pound of hot Italian sausage, for 4 servings.  By all means, feel free to use a combination, or all hot or all sweet if you want.  Chicken or turkey sausage would be great as well, although they aren’t as fatty, so a little more oil for cooking may be needed.  
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