Every Thursday Night, David and I host a "Thursday Night Kitchen Supper". We got this idea from an Australian chef named Bill Granger. I love his books and his cooking show and when we were in Austalia last year, I went running down the street after him, Edie under one arm, cookbook in the other, my flip flops making an annoying smacking sound in the street, hoping to get him to sign his book, "EveryDay". I lost him, as he rounded the corner of a Sunglass Hut and disappeared into a beachfront restaurant. It was like I was a teenager hunting down the lead singer of a boy band. Note to self: I am a middle-aged woman.
I was disappointed but pulled it together. It was David who actually spotted him first. He has this uncanny knack of running into chefs on the street. It is not uncommon to get a call from him, telling me, in a hushed voice, that he is standing on line at the bank with Mario batali or walking past Gordon Ramsey in Union Square. I must be looking at my shoes when I walk because I never see anyone famous walking the streets. Oh, that's right, I never get further than the playground.
Anyway, Bill's recipes are simple and clean, the measurements and instructions are always spot on and they are geared for busy families who have only a small amount of time for prep and clean-up.
The whole kitchen supper idea was his and we thought it sounded like a great idea, so we made it a weekly event. Bill's idea was to start the weekend early - on Thursday - and have friends over for an easy week night meal. This is a great idea for families because hosting a supper in your home means the kids can relax and play and sleep when they need to and parents can relax too and have social time with their friends. And his idea to host a supper - not a dinner party - makes it do-able. No pressure. Your guests don't expect foie gras. They know it is going to be a simple meal. No appetizers or fancy preparations. Becuase if you make something fancy, expensive or complicated, you won't do it very week. And that's what it's about - getting people together.
So, tonight David's brother, Matthew and his wife, Martha came over (they are kitchen supper regulars) and I made one of Bill's dishes. I prepped the dish in 20 minutes while the kids napped in the afternoon and I popped it in the oven a half hour before we ate. Everyone loved it. I am including the recipe here. I've re-worked it a little so you can make it ahead and pop it in the oven before folks arrive, but everything else is Bill's.
Baked Italian Sausages, With Potatoes And Rosemary
This recipe serves four.
* 8 Italian Sausages (chicken sausage also works well.)
* 800g. Potatoes (Scrubbed And Sliced)
* 1½ teaspoons Paprika
* 1 Rosemary (Stalk)
* 4 Garlic Cloves (Unpeeled)
* Sea Salt
* Freshly Ground Black Pepper
* 2 Slices Ciabatta Bread
* 50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1 handful Continental Parsley
1. Slice the sausages into 4cm pieces and place in a large roasting pan (or in two two cast iron frying pans)
2. Slice the potatoes and chill in a separate container of cold water in the fridge.
3. Add the paprika, rosemary, garlic cloves, sea salt and pepper to the sausage.
4. Tear the ciabatta into bite size pieces and add to the roasting tray.
5. Drizzle over the oil and gently toss to combine.
6. Place roasting pan in fridge and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that dinner is in the bag.
45 minutes before you want to eat:
1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. Take potato slices out of water (pat dry with a paper towel) and place in roasting pan. Mix with sausage and spices to coat.
3. Place pan in the oven and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sausages and bread are golden brown.
4. Top with continental parsley and serve with a green salad.