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sausage roasted whole in a pot

April 30, 2010

Sausage is amazing. I love it. It is cheap, delicious and easy to cook. This is my favorite way to cook whole sausages indoors and it is very simple. Use a nice fresh sausage and if there is a place in your town that makes their own it is worth seeking it out.

Roasted sausage with cucumber, tomato, mint salad and toast.

I always cook sausage in a pot instead of a pan because the high sides help prevent excessive splattering which sausage has a tendency to do. Unlike roasted meats that should be seared at high temperatures, sausage cooks more evenly and is easier to control at lower temperatures. To start, put a pot on at a low to medium heat. Sausage does not need to be salted because there is already salt in the meat mixture. Add a light drizzle of oil to the pot and throw the sausage in. depending on how long you let the pot heat it will start sizzling either right away or within a minute. Do not move or shake the sausage. Just let it sit and sizzle until it starts to turn a nice caramel brown. You can let it brown for several minutes at a low temperature without burning and doing so will help it cook all the way to the center. Once it is nice and brown turn it onto the other side and repeat. If the pot starts smoking or is splattering excessively turn the heat down.

seared sausage

The lower the heat, the more evenly it will cook, but also the longer it will take. In time you will find the best balance for your stove, your pot and your patience. You can also place a lid on the pot halfway to catch splatters, but don’t put it on all the way because it will steam the meat.

Small sausage will finish cooking by being seared just on two sides, some larger sausages should be seared all the way around. This is not always possible because sausage starts to curl while it cooks, but use a pair of tongs and try to sear it as best you can. To tell if it is done you can give it a squeeze and see if it feels cooked through. Fresh sausage will also have liquid in it that turns clear and starts to run. If you see its clear juices running under the skin it is close to being finished. Some popular sausages, Bruce Aidell’s for example, are already cooked. They come shrink wrapped from your local supermarket and will say “fully-cooked” somewhere on the package. These types of sausage need only to be heated. With pre-cooked sausage it is often easier to cut them in half lengthwise then heat them on both sides. Fresh sausage can be cut in half too, but the meat sometimes has a tendency to separate from the casing. Cutting the sausage in half cooks quicker and does the trick too, so go ahead and try it both ways and see which one you prefer. I have found that I like it better whole and it looks better too.

onions added, getting ready to finish with a handful of greens.

Once the sausage appears cooked let it rest for a couple of minutes. It is still hot on the inside and the hot juices are still cooking so it needs to sit before you cut into it.

Now, the other great thing about searing sausage in a pot is that when the sausage is done you can throw other ingredients into the pot and you have a single pot meal with real easy clean up. Anything you add to the pot will pick up all the flavor that has been imparted into the pot by the sausage. Try throwing in some onions or garlic and a handful of greens or fresh herbs while your sausage rests. Serve it with rice or some toast and call it a lunch. Enjoy!

roasted sausage with sauteéd escarole.

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