Sausages with Peppers and Onions

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA

SERVES 4-6

In terms of ease over a fire and level of popular demand on a camping trip, sausages are on par with hot dogs, but tastier (to me, anyway). Sear the links in a skillet and add the vegetables so they cook in a bit of the pork fat. You can also cut the vegetables into chunks, skewer them, and cook over the grill grate if you don’t want to pack a skillet. Bring buns and leave sausages whole for those who want a sandwich.

2 red bell peppers
1 large red onion
6 local pork sausages, pricked with the tines of a fork (we like sweet Italian but you can pick your fave)
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Fresh basil leaves Kosher salt, to taste

DO AHEAD: Seed the peppers and cut into 1-inch-thick strips. Cut the onion into thick slices. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and place in 2 resealable plastic bags. Refrigerate until you’re ready to pack the cooler.

AT THE CAMPSITE: Light a fire and let the wood burn until it’s white-hot (but not blazing). Shove the coals over to one side of the fire pit. Place a grill grate over the fire. Place a large cast-iron skillet over the hottest part of the fire. Place the lemon halves, cut side down, over the cooler side of the fire; check in on the lemons occasionally to make sure they’re not burning—they should be slowly caramelizing. When the skillet is hot, add a splash of olive oil. When that shimmers, toss the sausages into the skillet and sear on both sides for about 2 minutes, until well-browned. Add the peppers and onions and stir to combine. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or so, until the peppers and onions have started to soften. Take the sausages out of the skillet and place nearby on the cooler side of the grill grate. Continue to cook the vegetables for another 5–10 minutes, until fully softened and charred. Cook the sausages for another 5–8 minutes, until firm throughout and lightly charred on the outside. Remove the meat to a cutting board, slice into thick pieces and return to the pan, tossing to combine. Squeeze the lemon juice over the skillet and toss in the basil leaves. Serve hot. 

LEIGH BELANGER is the food editor at Culture magazine. Her second book, My Kitchen Chalkboard, about streamlining dinnertime for busy families, will be released this coming fall. She lives in Jamaica Plain.