I've got a great one-pan dinner for you that will fill you up with warmth in these increasingly chilly months. I always find that Italian sausage works great when I don't feel like making a ton of effort for dinner. You need only chop a few ingredients for this one-pan dinner: sausage, apples & fennel. It seriously can't get any easier.
So What is Fennel Anyway?
Let's talk flavor first. I will admit I stayed away from fennel for years because I was told it had a black licorice taste to it. Not my thing at all. However, it's not like biting into that disgusting twisty stick of black licorice candy they sell in bags at the store. No, no. Fennel is decadent. It's mild. And when roasted, it's a revelation. It's easy to cook with because you can cut it the same way you cut an onion.
Yes, it looks slightly weird and awkward, but it can add a beautiful depth of flavor that I think is worth trying. I learned from Wikipedia that fennel is actually considered a flowering plant that is part of the carrot family. I would have thought celery because the fennel stalks have a similar appearance to celery stalks.
The flavor is similar to anise which we commonly associate with a black licorice flavor as mentioned above. If you haven't experienced fennel, I highly recommend it. This recipe would be a great jumping off point to give it a try.
Sausage, Apples & Fennel Gives You Savory with a Touch of Sweet
We're getting that savory flavor with our Italian sausage and some depth of flavor and warmth from the fennel. The addition of apples to this dish gives it just the right itsy, bitsy touch of sweet. I love when a meal can be mostly savory, with just a touch of sweet... like my crispy chicken thighs with honey, butter garlic or my dijon chicken thighs with apple, leeks and fennel. See! More apples and fennel! I love this combination and I hope you will too. 🙂
I love savory cooking, especially in the winter. Italian sausage is one of my go-to's once a New England winter sets in. And one of the most popular recipes on my site is actually a one-pan sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions that is a total crowd pleaser. You know me with potatoes (my favorite food in the world!).
But this sausage dish brings an elevated depth of flavor once all these ingredients roast together. You could really eat this on its own, but I do love a side of basmati rice which I love pairing with Italian sausage for some reason. You could also enjoy this dish with your favorite side salad.
It's Amazing What You Can Do With 4 Ingredients
The four main ingredients are:
- Mild Italian sausage
- Fennel bulbs
- Red onion
- Gala apples (or whatever kind of apple you want)
Of course there are secondary ingredients for flavor enhancing, but you probably already have these on hand.
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme (optional and you can use dried instead or don't use it at all)