Fall’s light is one of amber glow, somewhere between the eye-wincing harshness of summer and the wind-braced gray of winter.
Fall’s food, in turn, lies somewhere between the garden-bright salads of summer and the braised-brown meats of winter.
With modern supermarkets bearing strawberries in January and June and cranberries in relationships with May and December, we too easily forget that food comes in seasons, that seasons come with food.
But fall, fall knows.
Fall knows it’s the open stretch between the dog days of summer and the sundogs of winter skies. Fall remembers summer sweat even as it girds for winter chill. Lustily, fall celebrates with the last of the tomatoes and the first of the apples, the last of the grill and the first of the gratins.
Fall, fall knows its place, its glorious amber-lit place. And so does fall’s food, on plates, and in our hearts.
BALKAN SAUSAGE STEW
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups
- 2 slices bacon, chopped (or 1 tablespoon bacon grease)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (or thyme or sage)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups hot water
- 8 ounces summer sausage, skin removed, diced small
- 2 medium potatoes, skins on, diced
- 1 pound zucchini, diced
- Sour cream
In a Dutch oven, start bacon on medium high. Add onions and peppers as prepped, then spices; cook til onions begin to brown. Stir in tomatoes and water, bring to a boil. Add summer sausage and potatoes, return to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until tender, about 10 minutes or longer if you like. Remove bay leaf. Serve in bowls with dollops of sour cream on top and chunks of bread to dip.
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