Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maple dijon roasted apples, potatoes, sprouts & sausage

Raise your hand if the fact that Halloween is tomorrow frightens you.  How is October nearly over?

Time is running out up for me to come up with a creative Halloween costume.  Our office party was earlier this week, and I really phoned it in with my getup.  I wore a black top and pants with an orange scarf, and declared myself "festive."  Thankfully, my office neighbor did the same thing.

As for the actual holiday tomorrow, we're spending the evening at our friends' house.  The men will be dishing out candy and attempting to spook the neighbors with their garage-turned-Ebola-quarantine-unit.  From the current e-mail chain, I get a sense they are going all in.  Requested items include white painting jumpsuits, face masks, goggles, biohazard stickers, and even cooked spaghetti and sausage to act as human internal organs.  Two quick thoughts: Gross, and what a waste of good food!

Speaking of food (because when am I not), the ladies will be holding down the fort inside, warm in our own disease-free clothes and sipping hot chocolate.  Val always puts such thought into planning the menu for festive occasions, and I can't wait to see what she makes for us to devour.  (FYI, I was assigned cookie duty, so I'll be sharing the recipe with you next week.)

It'll be great to slow down and catch up; swap stories of recent weekend trips, visits to new restaurants about town, and terrible dumpster fires football games.  Oh, and maybe we can even find time to plan a Friendsgiving-type get together before the holidays take our lives by storm.  We've talked about it for at least 5 years, so maybe this is finally the year.  Fingers crossed!

Before our lives shift into warp speed and calendars become double- and even triple-booked, see if you can take a moment to slow down and roast up a batch of maple dijon apples, potatoes, sprouts, and sausage.  Comfort, thy name is this dish!

Fall-friendly vegetables, apples, and sausage are tossed with a sweet and tangy dressing of pure maple syrup, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar, and roasted to perfection.

Once the heat hits everything, it doesn't take long for your kitchen (and entire house) to smell just like fresh-out-of-the-dryer-sweatpants feel -- warm, inviting, and irresistable!  You're going to want to bottle up the scent, ship it to the Yankee Candle factory, and demand a candle be created from it.  It's that good.  Nay, it's better because it's edible!

The cornucopia of flavors has something to satisfy every palate and craving: sweet apples, savory potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and salty smoky sausage.

This dish may be the best thing to happen to dinnertime this fall!  So set the table (you know, the real one not in front of the TV), pull up a chair, and savor dinner as it was meant to be -- one bite at a time.

One year ago: Harvest chicken quinoa stew
Two years ago: Cheesy spinach soup
Three years ago: Chili lime chicken with black bean & corn salad
Four years ago: Classic red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
Five years ago: Pumpkin bisque

Maple Dijon Roasted Apples, Potatoes, Sprouts & Sausage
-serves 4

A few notes: I used golden delicious apples for the color and flavor; however, use whatever you like, as long as it's on the firmer side.

 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-1/2-inch coins
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
8-10 Brussels sprouts, woody ends trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  In a large bowl, toss potatoes, oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.  Spread out onto large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together mustard, syrup, and vinegar together in large bowl.  Add apples, sausage, and sprouts to bowl and toss to combine.

Reduce oven temperature to 375.  Remove baking sheet and add mixture of dressed apples, sausage, and sprouts, tossing to combine.  Return baking sheet to the oven and bake, stirring twice, until the apples and potatoes are fork-tender and the glaze has caramelized, 45 to 50 minutes.  Enjoy immediately!

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