We have a really rich food heritage in this country ! So many different races have come to join our great melting pot , and food trends change as a result of the latest influx of culture has come to call this place home. So much to choose from ! Sadly , some old time favorites get pushed out of the lime lite or forgotten in favor of the new kid on the block. For instance, did you know that this time of the year was the time to butcher big animals and preserve them for the months to come ? In the days before refrigeration, cold temps were necessary to cool the meat and allow the beginning of the preserving process to safely happen. No part of the animal was wasted, so there was a lot of sausage, lard and cracklings made. I believe this is one reason so many of the old fashioned dishes served at the holidays featured some form of preserved meat or were made with lard ( pie crust, biscuits and such). Biscuits and pie crusts happened year round, but I think nostalgia makes us include them on our holiday tables today. Sausage is still something that is very tasty, and if you make your own or buy a brand that is free from the bad stuff like nitrates, can be enjoyed . Last night I made a healthier version of an old dish that I found years ago in a Mennonite cookbook- Sausage and apples.
You will need a medium sweet potato, two apples, about a pound of smoked sausage ( I use Boars Head) and 1/3 of a cup of real maple syrup.
In a glass casserole dish slice the sweet potatoes and place in a layer
Then core and slice the apples and place in another layer
Next slice your sausage into roughly one inch sections and place in a layer
Finally, pour 1/3 cup real maple syrup on top. The original dish called for a mix of pancake syrup and brown sugar, but pure maple syrup is a lot more natural and has elements to nourish your body while adding the sweet. If at all possible use Grade B syrup, but Grade A works .
Cover and bake in a 350 oven for 1 hr, or till the sweet potatoes are tender.
We served this with roast Brussels Sprouts and soaked Quinoa. I could only eat about half of mine as I somehow wound up getting so much of the sausage in my portion. I offered the extras to the guys , who happily devoured it. One truth seems to ring out- men like the flavor of pork products !