Sausage and Mushroom Ragout

“For this recipe I use a mix of button, crimini and oyster mushrooms, but you can use all button if you prefer.”

– Harry H. Wetzel IV, AVV Assistant Winemaker and Family Partner

– Serves 6 –

1 lb. mild Italian sausage (bulk or removed from casings)
1 ½ lbs. mixed mushrooms, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 tsp. AVV olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme, or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1- 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups Cabernet Franc
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 ½ tsp. flour
½ tsp. sugar
Chopped chives

Method of Preparation:
Brown the sausage in a large hot pan, crumbling it as it cooks. Remove the sausage from the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add the olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes and thyme. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms soften and begin to release some moisture. Scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the sausage back to the pan, add the bay leaf, tomatoes, red wine and beef broth, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the liquid in the pan has reduced to about 1 cup. Add the sugar. If the sauce is still a little acidic, add a little bit more sugar, ¼ teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition. Add the butter and flour mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over polenta and garnish with the chopped chives. Add a slice of crusty French bread to wipe up the sauce.