Talking SCHOP! The summer struggle

Kysha Harris | 8/9/2018, 12:30 p.m.
It’s hot y’all.
Sausage and grape ragu Kysha Harris photo

It’s hot y’all. And not just hot, it’s also humid and muggy and gross. It’s a two-shower-a-day type of weather. Who wants to be in the kitchen cooking and, moreover, who wants to spend time figuring it out? That is my dilemma and the dilemma for lots of people I know.

The irony of it all is I cook for a living. It’s a very “the shoemaker without shoes” type of thing. So, I offer a dish I made this week that hit all of the notes—spicy, sweet, salty, savory and straight delicious. Sausage and grape ragu!

3 Tablespoons olive oil

8 Links of a mixture of sweet and hot Italian sausage (recommend: 6:2-5:3); removed from the casing and rolled into 1-inch diameter balls

1 Medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

2 Cloves garlic, minced

4 Cups seedless red grapes

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

1/2 Cup low-salt chicken broth

6 Large leaves of basil

2 Tablespoons butter


Add oil and room-temperature prepared sausage balls to a cold, heavy-bottom large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat, making sure they each have enough room. Once the pan is up to temperature and sausage begins to brown, continue to flip and move around until all sides are brown, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer sausage to a large plate, reserving the drippings.

Add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions just soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the grapes and stir to coat. Cook until grapes begin to release their juices, approximately 8 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits. Add back the sausages and all of their rendered juices and bring the pan to a gentle simmer. Tear 3 basil leaves into the pan and stir, cover with the lid and cook for another 15 minutes.

For added luxury and to thicken the sauce, strain the final dish, leaving the liquid in the pan. Crank the heat to reduce, approximately 5 to 8 minutes, or as needed. Remove from heat, and whisk in a tablespoon or two of butter.

To serve, pour sauce over sausage and grapes and tear remaining basil over the top. Crusty bread, salad and a sparkling rosé will do it to it. Enjoy!

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over more than years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback?  Invitations!  Email AmNewsFOOD at Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!