Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dark Days: Hungarian Sausage with Braised Red Cabbage

It's been nearly a year since we spent a weekend at our farmer friend Brett's place killing pigs and making sausages. When I went digging for something to make for this week's Dark Days meal, I found two packages of Hungarian sausages at the bottom of the freezer, transporting me back to our pork "matanza."

I like the idea of suspending grocery purchases and living off what's in the pantry--or what's in the freezer, as the case may be. Riana, at the Garlic Breath blog, has been doing just that with great success for the last several weeks. In fact, Riana is on day 40 with no end in sight. At this point, she says, "the freezer is getting bearable but not bare. At least I can see the sides and figure out what is in there."

I think we Americans have a kind of unnatural fetish when it comes to needing something different, fabulous, thrilling to eat every night. Meanwhile, food piles up uneaten. Will we ever consume those Vietnamese rice noodles in the back pantry? Or that frozen pork tenderloin I don't even remember where it came from? How about that 29-ounce can of Manning's hominy taking up space next to the Middle Eastern fava beans?

In fact, we've been pretty good the last couple of months about not blowing our budget at the grocery store. Doesn't that make the occasional "special" meal all the more "special?"

I thawed the Hungarian sausages and browned them in the cast iron skillet. There was a red cabbage from the farmers market sitting in the cold room, waiting for just such an occasion. And this week's CSA box arrived heavy with Beauregard sweet potatoes and turnips. Since the produce box also comes from Brett's farm, it created a nice bit of circularity with the year-old sausages.

As the cabbage braised, I dropped the browned sausages into the pot to cook through. I steamed the sweet potatoes in a saucepan, then seasoned them very simply with salt, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and mashed them with a pat of butter and a bit of cream.

Nothing fancy. Just good food. Crack open your best bottle of mustard and pour a nice glass of wine. And look forward to lots of leftovers.


Kim said...

Sounds yummy, Ed! I've been thinking along the same lines lately - do I really need to cook five or six different meals every week? Why not two or three components that can be transformed a few nights each? I'm still working through the pantry, and my grocery bill is definitely less when I resist the temptation to buy all "new" food every week.

Laura said...

Right there with you - we're trying to reduce the pantry and freezer stash so that we'll have less to move. I swear I made this same meal last week!