This recipe is delicious especially when fresh local plums are available. It is relatively easy, requiring few ingredients and little time to prepare. The sausages may be grilled or seared in a hot pan. I love this dish with polenta or garlic mashed potatoes, a mixed greens salad and a fruity red wine.
If you are using plums that are not in season you may want to adjust for the tartness of the plums by adding a pinch of sugar. Sometimes I can’t resist making this dish in the winter. While California plums are a poor substitute for local ones, they work nicely with a little sugar and they put a skip in my step reminding me of warmer weather.
Thanks to Molly Stevens’ cookbook, All About Braising, for this wonderful recipe.
1 lb. ripe purple or red plums
1 3/4 – 2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage (or you can use chicken/turkey sausage)
1 TBS olive oil
1 Large shallot
1-2 garlic cloves minced
1 ½ TSP minced fresh sage or ½ TSP dried
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2/3 C fruity dry red wine
• Cut plums into ½” wedges, working over a bowl to collect their juices. Taste for tartness and add a pinch of sugar if needed. Set aside.
• Separate sausage links and prick each link in several places with a fork or tip of a sharp knife. Heat the oil in a skillet or shallow braising pan. Add sausages and fry them, turning frequently with tongs until a nice medium brown crust has formed all the way around, 10-12 mins. Or, grill them for about the same length of time. Transfer sausages to a platter.
• Pour off all but 1 TBS of fat from pan (depending on how fatty sausages are). Return pan to medium heat and add shallot. Saute shallot for a minute or so until it starts to brown. Add garlic and sage, stir briefly until fragrant. Add plums with all of their juices. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until juices start to sizzle.
• Pour wine into aromatic plum mixture and increase heat to medium-high. Deglaze pan, stirring and scraping any bits from bottom. Simmer 3-4 mins.
• Return sausages and any accumulated juices to pan, nestling the sausages down into the plums. Cover the pan and reduce heat to very gentle simmer. Continue braising, turning the sausages once during cooking. After 25-30 mins. Check for doneness by piercing with the tip of a sharp knife to see if juices run clear.
• Transfer sausages and plums to a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Taste and evaluate sauce remaining in pan. The sauce should be slightly sharp to offset the rich taste of sausage. You may reduce sauce at this point or simply pour over plums and sausages and serve.