I have formed this habit of measuring time by moments. By memories. By snippets of joy. The morning I learned to eat eggs. The slightly-sunny afternoon Garrett walked toward me for the first time. (He had a red motorcycle helmet tucked under his arm!!) The day my brother and I drove to San Francisco…and found a motel one exit too early in the very shady part of town, where our room’s best feature was the bars on the windows.
I measure Watersheds in much the same way. The moment I learned festival camping can be okay, as long as it includes a substantial blowup mattress (Watershed 1). The night Chris Stapleton took our hearts to new places. (Watershed 4).
The time we discovered where to buy the best carne asada – Carniceria La Chiquita in Renton (Watershed 3). The epic hillside proposal (Watershed 2). The morning I met Zarah (also Watershed 2).
Who would have known sharing that weekend soaking up sun, booze, and tunes would lead to a friend as quick to try a new restaurant as she is to go for a hike. Needless to say, she’s my kind of gal.
It was more than a year after we first met that Zarah introduced me to her famous “Sausage and Peppers.” Now that I think about it, I take great exceptation to this fact. It’s practically criminal she doesn’t carry around copies to share with worthy new acquaintances. Or maybe she does and I just wasn’t worthy right away???
The recipe originated somewhere in the land of Ragu. And like Zarah, it’s as unpretentious and low maintenance as it is heartwarming. Unlike Zarah, it’s not the most attractive dish you’ll ever make.
But, it’s easily adaptable, welcoming changes at a moment’s notice. And, it’s forgiving to the cook who forgets her bubbling crockpot until just before it’s time to serve dinner.
A Few Recipe Notes:
Zarah likes to serve this with hoagie buns or garlic bread. We’ve started taking a low-carb approach, dishing it up with roasted veggies and/or wilted greens.
Worried a batch will be too big? If you eat leftovers, trust me it’s not! It keeps for several days and the flavors intensify over time.
Need a sure-to-satisfy appetizer? It’s fantastic on top of crostini.
Don’t have Ragu? Zarah swears by it and it indeed is quite tasty. But I’ve been known to sub in different sauce varieties depending on what I have on hand. Feel free to do the same.
We like to doctor up the sauce. The additions and proportions can easily be tailored to your preferences. Depending on the sauce I’m using, I’ll mix things up. Also, sometimes we top this with cheese, like extra sharp cheddar or parmesan.
Zarah’s Sausage and Peppers
2 onions, sliced
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 packages of raw, spicy hotlinks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS red chili pepper flakes
2 TBS chili powder
1 TBS dried thyme
1 32-ounce large jar marinara sauce
In a crockpot, add onions and peppers. Add hot links. Sprinkle garlic, pepper flakes, chili powder, and thyme evenly over the top. Spread marinara evenly over the top.
Place lid on crockpot and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. Serve warm.