I have a few weeknight dinner options in my back pocket that are a guaranteed success. If there's chicken sausage, a rib eye, or teriyaki-marinated pork tenderloin in my refrigerator, then I can have a delicious meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. It is easy dinners like these that usually remind me why less is often more.
My preparations are always simple, as are the sides—brown rice or a baked potato, an arugula salad with a quick vinaigrette. As I was pan-searing some chicken sausage the other night I started to think about different ways to prepare it. I scoured the internet, but it turns out there's not a lot of inspiration in the chicken sausage department.
Then I thought about a recipe for vinegar-glazed chicken thighs I had seen in a magazine a few years back, and thought maybe a glaze would be good for sausage, too. Glazing is a simple technique that everyone should know; I referred to a favorite recipe here at The Kitchn as my guide.
Switching up the ingredient amounts but keeping the process the same, I came up with these FANTASTIC cider vinegar-glazed chicken sausages. It's one of those recipes that is so super simple, but the flavor is out of this world. I only wish all of my kitchen experiments would end this successfully! I paired the rich, tangy sausages with an easy cabbage saute; the sweet and tart combo are a match made in heaven. It's definitely my new go-to dinner recipe, and I think it should be yours, too.
Cider Vinegar-Glazed Chicken Sausage
For the sausage:
1 pound chicken sausage (I tested with mild Italian)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the cabbage:
1 sweet onion, chopped or thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 head green cabbage, shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the sausage, heat a couple tablespoons oil in a large braising pan (or skillet with flat sides) over medium-high to high heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until golden-brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and continue cooking over medium-high to high heat, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to boil until the liquid has cooked out and the sauce is dark brown, thick, and glossy, about 15 minutes. Serve with braised cabbage and spicy mustard.
For the cabbage, heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Add a large handful of cabbage, stirring aggressively to coat in oil. Continue adding cabbage, a fistful at a time, adding more olive oil as needed. Season generously with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with glazed chicken sausages.
Wine Recommendation from Mary Gorman McAdams
With this dish you could opt for a number of different wine styles. But today I am thinking rosé - perhaps because the days are getting warmer. I would pair this dish with a refreshing medium to full-bodied dry rosé wine. Something from Provence or the Languedoc in France, or Spain - wines with a slightly spicy finish both to bring out the rich flavors in the sausage and also compliment the cabbage and sufficient acidity to balance the cider vinegar. The tannin in the wine will also help cut the richness of the dish.
• 2011 Minervois Rosé, La Tour Boisée, Languedoc, France, $10 - Dry, refreshing with aromas and flavors of wild red berries, cherries, dried herbs hints of peppery spice and garrigue.
• 2011 Muga Rioja Rosé, Rioja, Spain, $12 - More earthy and woodsy, ripe strawberry compote, cranberry, hints of leather, anise and underbrush.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
Related: Recipe: Easy Sausage and Peppers
(Images: Nealey Dozier)