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6 Secrets to Making Killer Sausage and Peppers
Here in the middle of Pennsylvania we’re smack dab in between two big cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (a few of us here have a special place in our heart for Philly). Even though Philly is primarily known for its cheese steaks, another tried and true city favorite is sausage and peppers. This comfort food is one that should be added to your recipe rotation if it isn’t already, along with other Philly favorites like soups, meatloaf and lasagna.

Since we know a thing or two about cooking sausage and peppers, we made a list of things for you to keep in mind so that you can surprise your guests with a few wonderful twists or two on this classic dish.

Start with the Sausage – They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Well, in this case it is totally true. Sausage and peppers are only as good as the sausage that you start with. Luckily we have access to fresh and delicious sausage in the area and absolutely don’t mind making a special trip to our local butcher for the occasion. If you have access to a local butcher  (if you look them up they’re everywhere) absolutely take advantage of this. Not only will you know that the meat you are buying is fresh, but your butcher may also have recommendations on different varieties and even cooking tips.
 
When we make sausage and peppers, we typically use sweet Italian sausage. For something a little out of the ordinary you can use either Andouille sausage or hot Italian sausage. These are sure to give your sausage and peppers a kick of flavor. If you are looking for a healthier option you can always use turkey or chicken sausage. With the right spices and seasonings you won’t even be able to tell that you’re eating healthier.


Pick Some Peppers – Peppers are obviously very important when it comes to making sausage and peppers, but what kind of peppers should you use? Any basic sausage and pepper recipe will call for red bell peppers and sometimes add green bell peppers as an optional ingredient. These work great for those who like their food on the milder side, but there are a few other options if you like a little bit of heat. Red pepper flakes can be added to sausage and peppers and make it fairly easy to control the amount of heat that you are adding. If you would like to add fresh peppers, banana peppers, cherry peppers and pepperoncini peppers are our choices. These peppers have a good balance of flavor and heat so that you will still be able to taste the other ingredients.

Olive Oil or Sauce – When it comes to sausage and peppers there are two types of people – people who try to add the least amount of extras to their dish in order to capture the full flavor of the sausage, pepper and fat. These cooks typically use only olive oil, salt and pepper for flavoring.

On the other side of the spectrum are the individuals who are adventurous when it comes to culinary endeavors. These cooks like to prepare their sausage and peppers with some type of sauce. If this is the option you choose, we suggest that you go with a homemade tomato based sauce.


Wine
– Whether or not you choose to use olive oil or a sauce to make your sausage and peppers, there’s one thing that almost anyone can agree on – wine should be added!  About half of all recipes for sausage and peppers call for wine to be added, although this is normally an optional ingredient. Typically, when using olive oil to cook, white wine is added. On the other hand, if you are making a homemade red sauce, a strong red wine should be used.

The amount of wine to use will vary depending on your preferences. If you are using olive oil, about ½ cup of wine can be used for a medium size saucepan, or for every 12 ounces of sausage. You want to use enough wine to get a nice flavor, but not enough to make your dish extremely runny. If you are using wine in your sauce, the amount will vary depending on your preferred consistency.   


Onions and Mushrooms
– In my opinion, onions and mushrooms can be added to almost any dish – chicken, burgers and especially sausage and peppers. Although not added to all sausage and pepper dishes, the onions and mushrooms make this sandwich complete, but that might just be the Philly influence talking. It takes the sausage and peppers and turns them into a delicious variety of flavors and textures, and really makes it a full meal with plenty of veggies.
When it comes to onions, some recipes don’t even specify a type. But when they do, yellow onions are the most popular to use when making sausage with onions and peppers. Some recipes call for red onions, in addition to yellow, for a little change of pace and a more complex flavor profile.

In the case of mushrooms for a sausage and pepper dish, fresh is best. Almost any type of fresh mushroom can be used, but cremini mushrooms will give you the best flavor and compliment the other ingredients well. They are also better at holding moisture without becoming soggy. If dried mushrooms are all you have on hand, they are fine to use and are preferred by many mushroom lovers.


Bake ‘Em Up
– Typically, sausage and peppers are sautéed in a pan or on a restaurant size griddle, but we know just the thing to take them up a notch – bake them. While this may not be the most traditional way to make your sausage and peppers, the results will be hard to argue with. By putting all of your ingredients in a casserole dish and covering them with sauce you will give the flavors time to marry and become even more delicious. Place your casserole dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until the sauce starts to bubble and brown around the edges (all oven temperatures are slightly different).

With these tips, not only will you be able to successfully be able to pull off making sausage and peppers for the gang, but you’ll be able to add your own touch that guarantees they’ll be asking for your secrets!


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