Monday, April 22, 2013

Baked Sausages with Garlic, Onions and Red Grapes, Easy Outdoor Entertaining Idea

So lets talk Grilling without "Grilling". One of my favorite things to do in the Summertime is to eat outdoors. And my visit to San Diego was a study in inspiration for al fresco dining California style! I mean let's start with the weather. In San Diego it's a little like ground hog day the movie when it comes to the weather. Everyday you wake up and look out the window and say wow it's going to be another beautiful day just like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that, so on and so on!

Californians know how to enjoy the outdoors like no one else. Within a few hours driving time you are in the most amazing places near the cities. High Desert, Low Desert, white sand beach glory, cliffs and crashing waves, or even another country. Hiking, bike riding, running, all sorts of games played in the parks are everywhere. Outside is where it is at. Dining is no exception. I mean almost every place that can have an outdoor space has one. The ones that don't or can't have large windows or doors that open up onto the street and let the outside in! It's inspirational to me as one who loves outdoor dining. One of the best examples of this was a trip to the very famous and old school hotel, the Hotel Coronado. Where we sat outside in comfy padded booths around fire pits with food and drink brought to us. That's a story for another day.

My friends like so many San Diegoan's have an outdoor dining space. So one evening as a repayment for the incredible hospitality I was receiving, I wanted to make dinner for us all and sit outside and relax and enjoy the lovely evening air. However, I did not have time to get something and get it ready to grill and also I wanted the food prep to be less of the evenings activities and more of a means to the end of dining and chatting.

So I used an old Italian farmhouse recipe which over the years I believe has become popular again in cooking magazines and home style literature. Baked Sausages with red grapes. Now this sounds like a pretty easy recipe and it is but I think that with a little work it can go from good to great by adding some elements that are present in al fresco italian cooking mainly adding garlic and onions, grape tomatoes and spices to the mix and roasting everything slowly and over enough time for the garlic and onions to caramelize and the tomaotes and red grapes to plump and even blister and pop a little.

Well it was a great hit on the dinner table that evening and will be on yours too if you want a little outdoor dinning without firing up the grill. The beauty of this is it can be prepared ahead of time and then brought out with some good olive oil, crusty bread and a lovely green salad or a shepherds salad. It can become part of your arsenal for easy entertaining this Summer! Give it a try and see if you don't just love it! Enjoy Ya'll!

Baked Chicken Sausages with Roasted Garlic, Onions, Tomatoes and Red Grapes


1 package uncooked "Italian Style" sausages ( I used Trader Joes Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and                Romano Cheese)
15 to 20 cloves of garlic peeled
2 Onions ( any kind) thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 to 3 cups of  red grapes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
S&P to taste


Place sausages garlic and onions in a baking dish
Pour the oil over them and toss to coat well
Place the sausages and garlic on the bottom and over with the onions
Place in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 mins
Pull out of the oven add the wine tomatoes and the red grapes
Turn the sausages over and rest them on the now wilted onions and garlic
Sprinkle the sausages with the seasoning
Return to oven and bake for another 20 to30 mins. or until the sausages are browned and roasted and the tomatoes and grapes are popped.
Remove platter up and enjoy!

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