Old-fashioned Sausage with Apple Rings

Sausage link and apple rings on plateSausage and apples are a classic combination, so I was thrilled when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sausage and Apple Slices. It is a simple recipe that brings out the best of both foods.

Old-fashioned classic peppery sausage links such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage work well in this recipe. And, the apples are cooked in a simple sugar syrup which enhances their natural tart-sweetness.

I can’t decide whether this dish was originally intended to be a breakfast or dinner dish. I served it at dinner, but it would work well for either meal.

Here is the original recipe:

sausage links and apple rings on plate
Source: American Cookery (January, 1920)
Recipe for Sausage with Apple Rings
Source: American Cookery (January, 1920)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sausage with Apple Rings

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 pound sausage links (This is excellent with old-fashioned peppery sausage such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage.)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4-5 tart apples which hold their shape when cooked (I used Braeburn apples; Rome or Granny Smith would also work well.)

Prick each sausage link several times with a fork. Put in a large saucepan, and cover with water; bring to boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. While cooking sausage, preheat oven to 400° F. Put sausage links in an oven-proof skillet (I used a cast iron skillet), place in oven and brown (about 10 – 20 minutes). The sausage should be turned several times so that they brown evenly.

In the meantime, peel and core apples, then cut into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture using medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apple slices. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the apple slices are soft. Using a large spoon, gently rearrange the slices once or twice, so that they all soften at about the same time. Remove from the heat, and gently remove the slices from the syrup.

To serve, arrange links on plates, and place apple slices to the side.


46 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Sausage with Apple Rings

    1. In general, photos are few and far between in hundred-year-old magazines and cookbooks; but I think that each year there are a few more. I’m guessing that the technology for reproducing photos in publications was improving by 1920.

    1. It’s a way to more evenly cook the sausages. If they are cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, it sometimes can be difficult to get the meat in the center cooked before the outside gets overcooked. I don’t think that boiling the sausage first is really needed when the sausage is cooked in the oven – though the finished product has a slightly more tender outer skin.

  1. We used to get half a pig every year from my father’s boss. I learned that there is a lot of sausage in half a pig. We had sausage(in patties) and baked apples, applesauce and apple rings. I NEVER serve this now.

    1. Your comment makes me smile. I grew up on a farm and can relate to there being a lot of some parts of a pig. When my family butchered, we always seemed to end up with way too much scrapple. And, it was served at many meals in the weeks following butchering. I haven’t had scrapple in years – and I most definitely have not missed it.

  2. This is very similar to what I make (a family recipe). But I just use chicken sausage and cook it on the stove. When it is nearly done I drain off the grease and water and add the sliced apples – and a dash of cinnamon but no sugar. The apples cook with the sausage and it is all done at the same time. Everyone loves it and the natural sweetness of the apples means you don’t need or even miss the sugar!

  3. I love sausage and never thought to have apple rings with them, don’t know why since I love pork and apple rings, apple sauce, etc. As I get older though it is difficult to find sausage with less pepper, I can’t do it anymore so don’t eat as much as I used to. Wonder if this would work with Italian sweet sausage?

    1. Italian sweet sausage should work fine. When I did the recipe, I listed the more peppery varieties because I think that is what typically would have been served a hundred-years-ago (at least in central Pennsylvania), but Italian sweet sausage and the many other varieties available today would also work well.

      1. IMO, you really have to use a Breakfast or Sage-y sausage. I don’t think this would work with Italian sausages, the flavor profile doesn’t pair well. It would also be nice with the Chicken-Apple sausages if you can’t eat pork but the 1st 2 options I think go best w/ the apples. I’m sure any German sausage would work too as this is a German dish.

        1. I totally agree – Breakfast sausage (or other German sausages) should be used with this recipe. I can’t even picture it with Italian sausage.

  4. I’m so thrilled to come across this site! My great grandmother of German decent (born around 1909? give or take a few years) would make this for supper sometimes when we’d visit. The 1st time my Mom said she’d be serving this, I was terrified as I hated italian sausage and assumed we’d be eating that since it was dinner. To my utter delight she used breakfast sausages (which were my favorite) along with the delicious apples which seemed like such a treat..like dessert! I couldn’t believe we were having breakfast links for dinner when my parent always forced the other kind on me! The combo complimented each other perfectly yet was so simple and became one of my favorite meals I’d never have at home. I was wondering how my Granny cooked the apples and I’m so glad I came across this. This is exactly how she made it I think (I can’t remember if she added a dash of cinnamon or not). And instead of rings she just pared the apple but same thing really. A super easy, satisfying supper you could easily pair with potato or cabbage. Can’t wait to check out your other recipes!

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