It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a slow cooker recipe here on the blog. But behind the scenes, I’ve been using this versatile appliance for meals as often as I can. I like being able to get the minimal prep work for dinner out of the way in the morning (I work on it while my coffee brews), and then being able to sit down to dinner after a hard day’s work without much additional effort at all.
For this easy Slow Cooker Sausage, Apples & Fennel recipe, I really recommend quickly broiling the sausages before you put them in the slow cooker. I know that many people don’t like slow cooker recipes where you have to “pre-cook,” but I find that browning meat is absolutely essential to developing flavors and having a “home chef” final product. Besides, browning the sausages under the broiler can be done in just 8 minutes, and you can do it while you’re gathering the rest of the ingredients for the slow cooker, anyway.
You’ll add onions, fennel, apples, garlic, and a little stock and vinegar to your slow cooker pot before nestling the sausages on top. I recommend Michigan Braeburn apples for this recipe. These apples are rich, spicy-flavored, very firm and have a crisp bite.
The slow cooker will break the apples down to have an almost deconstructed applesauce-like texture, so I also put some fresh apple slices in the finishing salad for extra bite. The salad adds a bit of freshness and dynamic flavor to the proceedings. Feel free to prepare the simple mustard dressing in the morning when you’re prepping everything else, and then just toss some watercress and sliced apples with the dressing. Then, put the sausage, apples and fennel on a big platter, sprinkle the salad over the top, and dig in!
Home Chef Tip: Salad dressing can be made in the morning when you’re prepping the slow cooker ingredients. Dressing can be kept covered at room temperature until you’re ready to finish the salad.
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Michigan Apple Committee. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.