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Fort Ross Vineyard

Fort Ross
April 5, 2022 | All, Food & Wine, Pinot Noir Recipe, Recipes, Spring Recipe | Fort Ross

2019 Top of Land Pinot Noir & Braised Sausage with Fennel and Toasted Spices

Spring 2022 selections:  Braised Sausage with Fennel and Toasted Spices

Savory, spicy, and full of flavor, this recipe for braised sausage is the type of dinner you want to enjoy out on the deck on a beautiful night. Of course, with a glass of our 2019 Top of Land Pinot Noir by its side.

Recipe by Kelsey Youngman via Food & Wine Magazine


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6 hot Italian sausage links, pricked with a fork

2 large (13-ounce) fennel bulbs, cut in half lengthwise, cores removed, bulbs cut into 1-inch wedges, fronds reserved

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

4 teaspoons pink peppercorns

2 cups chicken stock or lower-sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup hummus

Lemon zest and lemon wedges, for garnish


1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a straight-sided 14-inch skillet over medium-high. Add sausages; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate. Add fennel wedges, cut sides down, to skillet; cook until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds per side. Transfer to plate with sausages.

2. Add fennel seeds, peppercorns, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet; cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until toasted and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove half of the spice mixture from skillet, and reserve for garnish.

3. Add stock to skillet, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Return sausages and fennel wedges to skillet; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until fennel wedges are tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

4. Spread hummus smoothly on a platter. Top with sausages and fennel wedges; spoon sauce from skillet over platter. Garnish with lemon zest, lemon wedges, reserved fennel fronds, and reserved spice mixture.

Pair with 2019 Top of Land Pinot Noir »

Why It Works 

We decided on a "sweet & spicy" type of pairing here - the spiciness of the sausage is complemented by the juicy red fruit of our 2019 Top of Land Pinot Noir. Though the wine is dry, the brightness of the fruit shines against the savory, spicy sausage. Notes of spice in the Pinot also work well with the sausage and fennel.


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