Yes, the “I” in our A to Z line up is for ITALIAN SAUSAGE!
I must admit, I’m a bit burned out on sausage for the time being, as we have been eating sausage recipes all week….
But you don’t have to make them all in the same week like I did… If you are a sausage-lovin’-family (as we are) you might be able to do 2-3 meals without hitting burnout! 🙂
First up….. nope, not an Italian dish…
Sausage Soft Tacos with Roasted Veggie Salsa and Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
My mouth is officially watering…
Maybe I’m not as burned out on sausage as I thought!
You have a couple of options here…
1. Grill/griddle the sausage whole in the casing (cutting the sausage into strips or a dice for the tacos)
2. Saute/ brown the sausage out of the casing (the sausage will be crumbly, like ground meat, for the tacos)
While either of these methods would work great for the tacos… the GRILLING option is a bit trickier than you might expect.
This is the method I chose….
And, as I discovered, grilling the sausages AND keeping them nice and juicy proved to be more challenging than expected. They were still delicious, but I felt they could be better…
So, I did some research and found a solution!!
If you you want grilled sausages but don’t want to risk drying them out, you POACH them first!
Poaching the sausage cooks it all the way through without drying it out. Then, grilling the sausage gives it that lovely golden-brown, caramelized exterior.
You only have to grill the links for about 4 minutes on each side!! Not only does this guarantee your sausage will stay juicy and flavorful, but you can also do the poaching portion AHEAD OF TIME… so you have less cooking to do when it comes to dinner!
Although I DID NOT poach the sausages this first time around on these tacos, I’ll still show you a few pictures from the grilling process to give you some visual-aid…
MAKE ME AHEAD!!
You can make cilantro oil, salsa, and sour cream mixtures ahead of time. WOOHOO!
To start off my recipe I wanted to infuse some vegetable oil with some flavor. Since I already had bought cilantro to use in my salsa, sour cream, and as a garnish… I decided this would be a great option! You could definitely use flat-leaf parsley instead!
Simply warm vegetable oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Then toss in a good handful of fresh cilantro, stir it, and let it go for about 8 minutes on the stovetop.
Pour the entire mixture into a blender and blend it for about 30 seconds on HIGH speed. Hold down the lid tightly as you are dealing with a hot liquid here and you don’t want to risk it exploding! 🙂
Transfer the cilantro oil to a small ramekin for brushing the sausages before (and during) grilling. Even if you choose to make uncased, crumbly sausage you can still make this oil if you want and just add some to your saute pan before browning up the sausage!
Next up in the MAKE-AHEAD line-up…
Roasted Tomato & Pepper Salsa
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Spray with cooking spray just to be sure to prevent sticking!
Time to quarter (and in some cases, seed) Roma tomatoes, red onion, and green bell peppers.
Oh yes, and peel and SMASH!!! one garlic clove…
Don’t pulverize it, just give it a smash… unless you had a rough day, then go to town… you might need a new garlic clove when you’re done, but at least the aggression is out…
Come to think of it… maybe get some meat to tenderize instead… there’s a knife involved in smashing the garlic so the pulverizing may be a bit dangerous 🙂
Throw all the veggies on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with vegetable oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over them all (you can use some of the cilantro oil (2 TBSP) if you made it!!
Roast for about 20-25 minutes in your 400°F oven, then transfer the mixture to a food processor…
To that, add red wine vinegar, vegetable oil, some chopped fresh cilantro AND, if you want some heat in your salsa, a few dashes of hot sauce (however much you want for your desired heat level!)
Cover the roasted veggie salsa and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!
I made this shortly before we ate dinner and my husband prefers his salsa cold… so mine went into the freezer… also known as the “blast chiller” at my house… we’re always using it to quickly cool things down for the girls so it has officially adopted this name.
Do you name any of your appliances? Just wondering.
Next up… and the final make-ahead item…
Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
You can hardly call this one a recipe but it really does amp up your run of the mill sour cream so it’s worth giving it a try!
Just mix together sour cream, chopped cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime juice…
I just gave my food processor a quick rinse and put it back to work! You can definitely chop the cilantro a bit more finely and just mix it with a spoon in a bowl.
Store the sour cream in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it!
Oh, and actually, there is one more item you can do ahead if you like… SHREDDED CHEESE!
Pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!
When you’re ready to eat, simply grill your poached sausages (or brown up your sausage removed from its casings). While the sausage is cooking, take out all your condiments…
The roasted veggie salsa, the cilantro-lime sour cream, the shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and a bit more chopped fresh cilantro to sprinkle on top!
Slice or chop your sausage (if needed) and let people assemble their tacos as desired!
Are you ready to take a bite? I know I am…
Seriously, if that doesn’t look good to you… I’m not sure we can be friends…
Well, I guess we still can but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one 🙂
$3.13 per person to serve 6!
If it only serves 4 for you the cost only goes up slightly to $3.55 per person, as you will not likely use more than half of the sour cream or salsa mixture.
This recipe will give you about 2-3 tacos per person for four people or 2 tacos each for six! The price depends on how hungry your eaters are, to be honest… but hopefully I gave you a rough estimate 🙂
You NEED to try this…. use shrimp, use chicken, use steak, or use sausage….. but TRY IT! 🙂
Happy Economical Eating!