Spicy Sausage with Quince (or apples) and Red Peppers

I am using tart quince with plenty of sweet peppers to complement the strong flavor of spicy Kean sausage. Quince and tart Granny Smith apples are, besides pumpkin, the only new interesting fruit that I can use as vegetables on the dead season, before the local cabbages and the fresh wild greens are harvested.

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Serve with crusty bread or with rice or bulgur pilaf.

Serves 4-6

3 quince or 3 large unripe Granny Smith apples
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh country-style sausage, preferably spicy
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch stripes
1-2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or to taste, considering the spicing of the sausage
1 cup white wine or more, as needed
Salt

If you are using quince, halve them carefully on a board, using a large chef’s knife. They are very tough. Halve each half, and with a sharp knife remove the pips and hard center. Wrap pips in a piece of cheese-cloth and tie with kitchen string. Place quince pieces in a deep skillet and pour in water to half cover the pieces. Add the cheese-cloth with the seeds, the cinnamon and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, turning the pieces over once. Remove quince with a slotted spoon and continue cooking the liquid with the pips and aromatics for another 15 minutes to reduce. Squeeze cheese-cloth and discard, together with cinnamon and bay leaves.

Halve each piece of quince and set aside.. Pour the cooking liquid in a bowl and reserve.

If you are using apples, quarter them and discard the pips. Halve each piece. Apples are tender and there is no need to pre-cook them.

Prick the sausages with a fork. In the large deep skillet heat the olive oil and brown the sausage turning on all sides. Remove sausages and cut into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.

Add peppers and pepper flakes in the sausage fat and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add poached quince, or the raw apples, turning them carefully to golden on all sides.

If you are using apples, add cinnamon and bay leaves together with the sausage to the skillet, pour in the wine and the quince cooking liquid, or 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until quince or apples are fork-tender. Add more wine or water if needed.

Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt at this point, because usually sausage is salty and spicy. Serve at once.

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