Turkey Sausages: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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I am a huge fan of sausages. They are versatile, flavorful, easy to cook, economical and generally crowd pleasing.

These were a go-to for years when we hosted large crowds during summer beach weekends or winter ski vacations. Back at home, the leftovers enabled my kids to prepare their own dinners when I would freeze one or two links in small quantities for busy weeknights where everyone was running in different directions.

I prefer the hot Italian version, but you can choose whatever variety pleases your crew. Most butchers carry hot and mild Italian, and many offer varieties such as turkey sausage chorizo, sweet pepper, andouille and other flavors.

This recipe is a simple braise with onions, broth and wine, but you can also use marinara sauce, beer, vegetable or beef broth, or even water as the cooking liquid. I like the addition of onions, but if you are a fan of mild or hot peppers, or mushrooms, chuck them in. The key is to allow plenty of time for the sausages to braise and become fork tender.

We had these Saturday night for dinner with cooked barley, sliced tomatoes and arugula salad. But they would be equally good with baked or mashed potato and whatever vegetable your family enjoys.

As for dessert, anything goes — cookies, brownies, pies or cakes, fruit or sorbet. The meal is casual so I would stay within the realm of more homey sweets, avoiding seven-layer opera cake, mille feuille or sacher torte but, of course, it’s cook’s choice.

After Saturday’s dinner, I paraded these links out again Sunday for the Eagles game, along with some Italian long rolls and cooked broccoli rabe. I froze a few individually in Ziplocs for future use, and held some aside to spice up the upcoming week’s meals:

  • Remember that broccoli rabe from Sunday’s game? Chop it up, slice a couple of sausages and dump it all over freshly cooked pasta.
  • Strew sliced sausages over a pizza shell with your favorite marinara sauce.
  • Spice up a veggie frittata with some sliced sausages.
  • Looking to jazz up a salad? Slice the sausages, sauté the slices until crisp, toss over the greens and your side salad just became a meal.
  • Rice and beans, risotto and jambalaya get a lift from a few sliced sausages.
  • Vegetable or minestrone soups gain some heft and flavor with the addition of sliced or crumbled sausages.

The great thing about the sausages is that they are so flavorful that a little goes a long way. It is a sensible way to reduce the consumption of meat and fat, if that is a priority, and it is also a relatively low-cost, economical meal. Oh, and did I mention, there’s almost no work for the cook in preparing these? It just might be the perfect meal(s).

grilled sausages with roasted pumpkin
Grilled sausages with roasted pumpkin (Mariha-kitchen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Braised Turkey Sausages

Servings vary

This recipe counts on leftovers, so it is a large batch. If you are only looking for a smaller quantity, simple reduce the amounts, just make sure there is enough braising liquid to cook the sausages for several hours without drying out.

  • 10 turkey sausage links (about 2½ pounds)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Generous sprinkles of salt and red pepper flakes

Heat the oil in a large stockpot and add the salt, pepper flakes and onions. Sauté until fragrant and add the sausages.

Sear the sausages on all sides to seal in moisture. Add the broth and wine; it should almost cover the sausages. If it doesn’t, add water to reach appropriate level.

Bring the sausages to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the sausages and let them cook over very low heat for about 2-3 hours. Stir the sausages occasionally to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom. They are done when very soft and fork-tender.

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