Here in Washington, DC most of the vendors at our local farmers’ markets sell produce. In the winter, they sell veggies that they have been able store after the winter growing season – things like carrots, potatoes, turnips, beets, onions, apples, cider and radishes. During early April you can really feel the energy and anticipation of the produce vendors building. They are planning, seeding, and quite a few are able to offer spinach and other fresh greens that they grow in their greenhouses. The spring crops should be rolling in to our markets very soon. I can’t wait!
While the winter vegetables are delicious, I also enjoy the meat vendors at the market this time of the year. They offer things I can’t get at my local supermarket, and I like learning about the way the animals are raised. In my last visit, I picked up some delicious lamb sausage. I already had some preparation ideas, but I overheard the farmers teaching other customers about the different cuts of lamb meat and recommending ways to cook it. So don’t be shy to experiment with new items at your local market, folks there can help make it easier.
Lamb Sausage Marinara
2 - 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 - 1 1/2 pounds lamb sausage
1 green bell pepper
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Cut the sausage into bite-size pieces. Saute in skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once it is very slightly browned, set aside.
Dice onion and bell pepper.
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, and add diced onions and peppers. Lightly saute.
Add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally for another two minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
Add tomatoes, sauce, and paste. Stir. Add spices and stir again.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve over pasta - we liked it with whole grain spaghetti. It also reheats well.