All Roads Lead to This Sausage and Cabbage Stir-Fry

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Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

When I wander around a grocery store after work, aimlessly trying to figure out a simple weeknight dinner, it feels like there’s a honing signal guiding me to ground meat.

I know that doesn’t sound immediately appetizing—ground meat needs a rebranding!—but it’s a guaranteed quick-cooking, versatile purchase that can be formed into meatballs, smashed into crispy larb, or stir-fried with any vegetables (and/or noodles!) that I’m in the mood for.

Tofu and Mushroom Stir Fry

Lately, my go-to has been a one-skillet wonder of stir-fried sausage, cabbage, mushrooms, and chives, all stuffed into warm flour tortillas. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and reheats like a dream for meal prep. Win-win.

The recipe calls for hot Italian sausage, but I’ve made this with mild sausage or a pound of ground pork to equally wonderful results. The clutch trick is grating garlic and ginger right into the meat mixture so it is flavored throughout before it gets all crisp in the pan. (It’s important to let it sit and sear for 6–8 minutes so it gets super brown instead of gray and sad!)

browned meat ground beef process 2

Photo by Alex Lau

Make sure ground meat is super crispy before you flip it over!

Out goes the meat and in goes sliced shiitake mushrooms, which get crispy and tender in the residual pork fat, and a ton of cabbage. Six cups! I use two bags of the pre-shredded green cabbage from Trader Joe’s because I’m lazy, but Napa cabbage—the one called for in the recipe—has a sweeter, milder flavor, and is worth seeking out if you’re not lazy like me.

Equal parts soy sauce and unseasoned rice wine vinegar coat everything in the skillet and turn into a simple-yet-flavorful sauce. You are supposed to toss in half the cabbage to wilt and then put the rest in raw so it’s still crisp-tender, but I prefer it all to be tender and incorporated with the sauce, which sometimes means adding a little more soy and vinegar before finishing with chives, a drizzle of sesame oil, and sprinkle of sesame seeds for a mildly garlicky, nutty finish.

Now is the best part: wrapping it all up! If you can find mu-shu wraps at your local Asian grocer, that’s ideal to make this like mu-shu pork, but if not, flour tortillas are a nice, pillowy wrapper for the tender, deeply flavorful, saucy meat and veg. Spread a warmed tortilla—I like Trader Joe’s handmade white tortillas, which are nice and chewy—with hoisin sauce and Sriracha to taste, nestle the meat mixture in, roll it like a taquito, and take a big ol’ bite.

Eat this over a plate, because you’ll inevitably spill some of the mixture, and make a pot of rice if you’re making this for meal prep. And hey, you only have one skillet to watch, since everything happened in one pan, and you have plenty of time to lie horizontal on the couch for the rest of the night. You’re welcome.

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Pasta with Sausage and Arugula Recipe

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Combine vegetables, sausage, and pasta in a large bowl. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 4 Tbsp. oil, and ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce comes together and coats pasta. Toss in arugula.

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Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Collard Greens Recipe

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Reduce heat to medium-low and add 8 Tbsp. butter to same pot; swirl to melt and to coat bottom of pot. Add onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened but not yet browned, about 5 minutes. Add collard greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes.

cornbread stuffing with sausage and collard greens process 5

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

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Roast Sausage and Fennel Recipe

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Place a rack in highest position in oven; preheat to 425°. Combine fennel bulbs, red onion, and rosemary sprigs on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp. oil, season generously with kosher salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Arrange sausages on top, spacing evenly and nestling into vegetables. Prick sausages all over with the tip of a paring knife and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Roast until sausages are browned on top and cooked though and fennel is tender and deeply browned in spots, 25–30 minutes.

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