When the leaves start to turn colors and temperatures head south, my palate changes. Dramatically. Soups, stews, chili, hot dishes (aka casseroles), gratins, hearty mac & cheese, and pumpkin pie. I crave rich flavors and spices. Things that warm from the inside out. And the foods I want are specific to the season. Pumpkins, apples, root vegetables, "super food" greens, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, apple cider. Even dark beers and smoky sausages, things I usually don’t eat. Meals full of hearty, filling, comfort food. Dishes that evoke nostalgia. And certain smells are those of fall, such as apple spice cake just out of the oven loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
I was really impressed with the recipes in last month’s Better Homes & Gardens. I made two dishes from the magazine that highlight the best of fall, the first being butternut squash posole with chicken and kale that was full of flavor and quite easy, and the other beer-glazed sausages with apples and green beans. It was a one-pot wonder that comes together in half an hour. Simmering sausages in beer is a classic preparation, but in this recipe, the beer first forms a caramelized, ever-so-slightly sweet, and savory glaze thanks in part to a bit of cider vinegar and another fall flavor, sage, and then they are browned to form a wonderful crust on them. Apples are sautéed in a bit of butter and the green beans are also steamed in the beer until tender-crisp. Make sure you use a robust beer. The recipe recommends a Belgium-style wheat beer, with its coriander and orange notes, compliments the smoky sausage (I used Shock Top Belgian White). I served it with homemade, melt-in-your-mouth (Weight Watchers!) buttermilk biscuits – something I’ve never made before and they were so easy and so tender, which I will post about soon – and buttermilk coleslaw.
Beer-Glazed Sausages with Apples and Green Beans
1 12 ounce bottle Belgium-style wheat beer
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 package smoked turkey kielbasa, cut in 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound fresh green beans
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium cooking apples, cored and thinly sliced (leave the skins on)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sage, finely minced
In a large saucepan combine 1/2 of the beer and the crushed red pepper; bring to boiling. Add sausage and green beans. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter; add apples. Cook, turning occasionally, until apples are just tender. Transfer to a platter.
Add sausage to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Add to platter; cover. Drain fat from skillet.
Carefully add remaining beer to skillet because it will; stir to scrape up browned bits. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and sage. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return sausage and green beans to skillet to coat in glaze. Fold in apples. Return to serving platter.