Pork Sausage with Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

Italian Pork Sausage With Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

Italian Pork Sausage With Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

 

I am in the middle of reading Barbara Kingsolver’s nonfiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  It is a heart-warming, thought-provoking account of a year she and her family spent on their farm in Virginia consuming only food that they either grew themselves or bought locally from farmers in the region.  They have this amazing network of people they know in the area, and are able to find just about anything they don’t grow themselves, including flour from a local mill that is grown nearby (except it’s not gluten-free of course…) for baking.  She even makes her own cheese at home.  The hardest part is to only eat what is in season in Virginia, which means no fresh produce for certain times of the year.  (I have not gotten to the part about what they ate in the dead of winter yet, but I’m dying to know.)  It makes me feel like I’m cheating by living in California where I can get fresh local produce, like, all the time.  I admire anyone who tries to live like that in a place that is frozen solid for several months out of the year!  But what a concept – this is what our ancestors did for ages, before there were refrigerated trucks and interstate highways that delivered California produce to the entire nation, feeding our fossil-fuel addiction.  People used to can, freeze, and sun-dry all sorts of fruits and vegetables to get through the winter, consuming and preserving everything while at its nutritional peak and the height of its flavor.  Now fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and selected for the ability to travel far distances and look fresh, at the sacrifice of nutritional value and taste. 

 

Anyway, it is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.  I also recommend eating as local as you can.  Local farmers only have a market to sell their goods if there is a demand for it.  The more demand there is, the more local farmers will be able to make a living by producing a diverse selection of organic fruits, vegetables & meats and the more choices you will have in your area.  I realize it is now January and for most of you, it will be months before the first farmers’ markets.  But visit them while you can, and until then, ask your local grocer which items they sell that are locally produced.  Depending on where you go – small grocers (not chains), co-ops, health food stores – you might be able to find local eggs, or cuts of meat that are hormone- and antibiotic-free.  Whatever you can find, if it’s local, I guarantee you it will be the most nutritious & flavorful, freshest food available.

 

So, that brings me to this week’s recipe.  When my parents were here visiting in December, they brought us some pork sausages made by a local farmer where they live.  This was the best gift!  There were about a dozen and we keep them in the freezer and take a couple out to thaw whenever we want.  The other night I didn’t know what to make for dinner, but I had a small butternut squash and some Brussels sprouts, both of which are in season here in northern California.  So I experimented.  It was to die for.  Thank goodness for happy experiments!  Here are the approximate ingredients I used:

 

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 pork sausages (or chicken if you prefer)

2 cups chopped Brussels sprouts

1/2 a red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, pressed

1 cup chicken stock

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper

 

Peel, cut and bake the squash for an hour at 350 degrees F, with a drizzling of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Simmer the sausages and Brussels sprouts together on the stove top in a little homemade chicken stock with chopped onion for about 10 minutes.  When the liquid is nearly gone, remove the sausages and slice them up.  Then toss them back in the pan along with a touch more olive oil, minced garlic and the cooked butternut squash.  Saute everything for a few minutes, just until the flavors mix and the garlic is fragrant, then season it with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper and serve.  

 

Makes 2 servings

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