Game Day Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers
Every summer when we would visit my grandparents in Kansas City my mom would take us to a little Italian bakery and restaurant called Mario's where they served meatball and sausage sandwiches called grinders. She grew up eating them and taught us to love them too! This reminds me of those sandwiches. The flavor of the sauce is so complex even though it only has a few ingredients, most of the flavor comes from the dish cooking all day in the slow cooker with the sausages. I like to serve this on Rotella's Hoagie Buns ( I use gluten free hot dog buns for those who need gluten free) and with cheese for those who can have it that way. The leftovers are also good over gluten free pasta. This dish has become a game day staple the past few years in our home when we have family over to watch the Husker football games. I like that you can get all the prep work and mess out of the way before guests come and they are greeted with the delicious smell of onion, garlic, and peppers cooking all day when they walk in the door!
Serves 6-8 depending on size of hunger
* 12 mild Italian Sausage Links ( I have used Kroger brand, Fresh Thyme, and Johnsonville)
* 1 TBSP olive oil ( may need more)
* 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
* 15 oz can tomato sauce
* 1 yellow onion cut into thin slices
* 3 red peppers sliced into strips
* 3 garlic cloves minced
* 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
* salt and pepper
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1 tsp dried parsley
1. In a large crock pot empty the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce
2. In a large skillet over medium heat add 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil and six of the sausages. Brown the sausages on all sides, about a minute or two per side. They do not need to be cooked through as they will cook in the slow cooker. The browning adds flavor and a better texture! Once browned place in the crock pot. Repeat the browning process with the remaining sausages and then place them in the crock pot.
3. Add the onions to the already heated skillet, add more olive oil if needed. Cook the onions for 4 minutes or until they start to brown. Season with a salt and pepper and then place in the crock pot.
4. Add the red bell peppers to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until soft, add the garlic the last minute and then add the cooked peppers and garlic to the crock pot.
5. Add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, and parsley to the crock pot and stir gently until the ingredients are well incorporated.
6. Cook on low for 6 hours. The sausages will be very tender and might even start to fall apart!
7. Serve on toasted buns with Mozzarella cheese or over pasta!
For the Instant pot:
Skip direction 1 and follow directions 2-4 on the saute function of the instant pot browning the sausages and removing them, browning the peppers and onions and removing them also.
Combine all the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and add all of the peppers, onions, and nestle the sausages back into the instant pot.