Monday, June 22, 2015

Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Honey Balsamic Glazed Onions

I love Italian sausage, if it's the right kind. As an ex-Chicagoan, I want fennel seeds in my "sweet" Italian sausage.

It's not really sweet, like sugar, but the sweet designation lets you know that it's not hot sausage. Which is fine for some things. But not for my sausage sandwiches, or on pizza.

And, if you're from Chicago, you know at least one person who pronounces sausage as sah-sidge. If they're really hard-core, you might even hear about the ever-so-popular sah-sidge sangwidge.

Yes, I'm serious.

This isn't the traditional Italian sausage sandwich, though. Oh, it's got the traditional peppers and tomato sauce. But the secret ingredient this time is the honey balsamic glazed onions. They add a sweet-tart flavor that really complements the sausage and peppers.

The onions cook down a lot, and they might just become your new favorite condiment, so consider making extras for burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and panini sandwiches. I had to stop myself from "sampling" the onions until they disappeared. They're insanely good.

The vinegar came from Honey Ridge Farms, courtesy of the blog group 37 Cooks, where we cook up challenge recipes using fun ingredients.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches 
with Honey Balsamic Glazed Onions

For the onions:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced into half-moons
Pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar

For the peppers and sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
1 tablespoon dry oregano
Generous pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

For the sandwiches:
6 Sweet Italian sausages, grilled or pan-cooked
6 Buns

To make the onions:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium, stirring as needed, until the onions begin to soften. If they start browning, turn the heat down.

Add the balsamic honey vinegar and continue cooking, stirring once in a while, until the liquid is gone.

To make the peppers and sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the peppers, oregano, and salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute or two, then add the wine. Let it come to a simmer, then add the tomato sauce.

Cook, stirring as needed, until the peppers are fork tender, but not mushy - or until they're cooked to your liking. If the sauce reduces too much, add water to keep it saucy.

To make the sandwich:
Put the sausage in the bun. Add the peppers and as much sauce as you like. Top with onions.

You should have enough toppings for at least six sandwiches, but it depends on how much you like the toppings. I've been known to make a sandwich with just the toppings, and maybe a bit of melted cheese inside the bun. Yes, I'm serious.