Just a few weeks ago, Hal and I celebrated two years of marriage and four years together (we organized our anniversaries very efficiently: first date on November 7th 2012, engaged on November 9th 2013, and married on November 8th 2014!). In the time that we’ve been building our relationship, we’ve of course started to create traditions for our little two person family. We watch Die Hard every Christmas, we go back to the bar where we got married on our wedding anniversary, we exchange teeny gifts on New Years (brought by the New Year’s Elf, of course), and when we get back to my childhood home after celebrating Thanksgiving with my extended family, we have a second dinner of sausage and peppers.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, right up there in a tie with Christmas. For most of my life my immediate family hosted big jolly tasty taste filled Thanksgivings at our house, with my mother in charge of the lion’s share of the cooking. I loved the family time, the food, and the tradition of it all. For Hal…not so much. He has a deep and abiding dislike of turkey (ok, he straight up hates it), and just doesn’t quite have the warm fuzzies associated with it all that I do. Happily, Hal got to experience one of my traditional family Thanksgivings in 2013. It was the first year that he joined us for the holiday, and it stands out in my memory as such a joyful celebration. We had gotten engaged just a few weeks before, he was meeting most of my extended family for the first time, and it was the year that my mom finally agreed to let me cook most of the food–with her help and supervision, of course. It was a big, festive, wonderful Thanksgiving.
My mother passed away the following October, and it means the absolute world to me that I have that memory of cooking with her, and that Hal got to see why I had always loved this particular holiday. Our last three Thanksgivings have been hugely different, of course. My sweet aunt Mary Jay has taken over hosting, and does an awesome job. The food is delicious, I look forward to the company all year, and the warm fuzzies are definitely in full effect. We also eat much earlier than we used to, and that plus not having a fridge full of leftovers and his no turkey policy led to Hal wanting to get groceries for post-Thanksgiving food back at our house. The rest of our crew–me, my sister, her beau, and our dad–thought he was nuts. There was no way we’d want to eat anything once we got back home on Thanksgiving night. And we kept thinking Hal was nuts right up until he started cooking.
He made sausage and peppers, a meal he learned from his dad. He kept it really simple: sliced red and green peppers, sliced white onion, and hot Italian sausage all sautéed together in a big skillet, with a splash of balsamic vinegar. We heated up some jarred tomato sauce and boiled some pasta, then tossed it all together and were amazed to discover that it was possible to still be hungry after a huge Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve kept the tradition going since then, and I don’t imagine us stopping in the coming years. It’s a lovely way to recenter ourselves after a big busy day, and it’s become something I look forward to as an integral part of the holiday.
When Hal makes sausage and peppers he wings it, which works beautifully for him. When I’ve made it for us (on days other than Thanksgiving only, of course) I like this simple recipe from the Kitchn. Think of it more of a suggestion than a strict recipe–I always add green peppers to the red, and like to bump up the amounts a bit to be sure we have leftovers. Hal considers the under the broiler method of cooking the peppers semi sacrilege, but it’s so tasty he doesn’t mind. Whether you try this recipe or just play it by ear, sausage and peppers is perfect for an easy weeknight meal–or a cozy new holiday tradition.