Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sausage & Roasted Vegetable Casserole

I've been a little melancholy (do people even use that word anymore?) for the past couple of days.  I have so enjoyed having the three kids home for the past couple of weeks during their winter break and I so dread sending them back to school on Monday.  I wish I could just lounge around with those guys and snuggle them every day.  But, such is life.  We've been trying to squeeze in a bunch of last-minute fun things during these final days of their break.  I took them swimming at an indoor pool on Friday and after a stop off at a birthday party early yesterday afternoon at our local bowling alley, we nestled in by the fire for a relaxing evening at home.

This delectable recipe was made.  Hot fudge sundaes were eaten.  We read books.  They tinkered with Legos.  We played a few board games. 

It was pure bliss.

I was inspired to make this recipe from the beautiful Kay over at Kayotic Kitchen.  She calls her version Lazy Sunday Casserole.  I so appreciate and adore roasted, caramelized veggies of any kind.  So, I was drawn to this dish.  However, since I didn't make it on a Sunday and to better convey (and capture) the essence of the dish, I decided upon a different name.  Whatever you want to call it, it's darn tasty and a perfect recipe to make on these chilly winter days.

3 - 5 sausages (beef, pork or chicken - any variety)
1 pound potatoes
1/2 bell pepper (or several mini sweet peppers)
2 onions
1 fennel bulb
3 - 4 carrots
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs (or a combination of similar herbs)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock or broth
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Scallions or fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove base, stalks and core of fennel.  Cut into wedges.
Peel potatoes. Cut into four wedges. Peel onions. Cut into four wedges. Seed peppers and cut into wedges or slices. (Mini peppers can be left whole after stems and seeds are removed.) Peel carrots. Cut into large chunks. Add all of the veggies into a large roasting pan or casserole dish.
In a medium bowl, grate 2 peeled garlic cloves. Add in the herbs, red pepper flakes, olive oil and chicken stock/broth.
Pour mixture over veggies.
Toss/stir to coat veggies thoroughly.
Season veggies liberally with salt and pepper.
Cover dish tightly with foil. Roast in oven for 45 minutes or until veggies are fork-tender.
In the meantime, cook sausages in a skillet in their casings just until casings are browned - no need to cook all of the way through.
Cut sausages in half. When veggies are tender (after about 45 minutes), place the sausages in the roasting pan with the veggies.
Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar.
Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Flip sausages over. Ladle some of the pan juices over the veggies and sausages. If there aren't a lot of pan-drippings at this time, drizzle on a little more olive oil and chicken stock/broth.
Continue roasting uncovered for another 15 - 25 minutes or until veggies have become caramelized around the edges and sausages are cooked through. Garnish with chopped scallions or parsley, if desired.

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