Living in the Pacific Northwest requires one to find ways to combat the long winter days that become light late and dark early giving us minimal hours of daylight. A highlight of the winter is when we hit the solstice and start seeing the days lengthen again! Dishes like these sausages which cook slow and emit a fragrance that makes you not want to wait till dinner are a staple for these days!
I remember the day I found this recipe. I was standing in the University Bookstore looking at cookbooks and found Mimi Thorisson’s book, A Kitchen in France. The photography was beautiful and the recipe sounded so delicious. I bought the cookbook for this recipe then proceeded to cook my way through it!
Braising meats is really is so simple, too! After the prep work, all you have to do is wait while the oven does the work for you and the prep work for this is as simple as schmearing the sausages with Dijon mustard. While they start cooking in the oven, cut the onions and fennel into slices. Have you ever had fennel? I love it raw … so crunchy and fresh with a slight licorice flavor … but when it’s cooked, it’s mild, sweet, and just as delicious. You cut the fronds off and slice the bulb part. After the sausages cook for about 25 minutes, pile the onions and fennel on top along with some thyme sprigs, then pop it back into the oven for another 25 minutes. Pour the wine in the dish, top with pats of butter and let the sauce thicken in the oven for another 10 minutes.… And dinner is served. These sausages are delicious with white beans and greens, mashed potatoes, or with a simple green salad, which is how I usually prefer it. Bon Appétit!
Fennel Braised Sausages
Yield 4-6 servings
A version of this recipe is what caused me to purchase Mimi Thorisson's cookbook, A Kitchen in France. I made a few changes and we find it perfect for a cold winter's day!
- About 2 pounds of bratwursts
- Dijon mustard (just enough to smear on the sausages)
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large oven proof baking dish big enough to hold the sausages snugly, lay them in one layer. Smear the sausages with an ample amount of Dijon mustard. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the sausages over.
Toss the sliced fennel bulbs and the onion with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then layer them on the sausages. Lay fresh thyme sprigs on top.
Return the dish to the oven and roast until the sausages are cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour the red wine over, top with butter, and return to the oven for about 10 minutes.
Serve hot with white beans and greens, mashed potatoes, or with a simple green salad, which is how I usually prefer it. .