Caramelized Onion and Sausage Appetizer

Created this appetizer over the weekend. Hope you enjoy it!

My Mom makes this Sicilian bread, very regional to where she grew up, with sausage, onions, and cheese. SO DELICIOUS.  This bread is a real treat for me; has everything I love in food. It’s savory.  Slightly sweet.  It has a crunchy crust and cheese. There’s sausage. And sometimes a surprise black olive!  Which if you are Sicilian is a must in your diet. heh.  It’s everything delicious.

I have made this bread a few times for my family and for a get together here and there.  The original version is the size of a small coconut basically. Which can be too big, even cut into pieces for parties. So.  I’d make them in batches of bite sized portions- they were mini versions, yummy, and would disappear in minutes.

As I was trying to figure out bite sized dishes that were easy, crunchy, sweet and savory for this past Sunday, the idea of the bread came to mind.  I love the taste of the components together, but figured to get the crunch in a different way and wanted to use phyllo rather than bread/pizza dough.  Minus the black olive and adding in sweet onions.

It was a hit! Super easy and everyone enjoyed them.


Caramelized Onion with Sausage Appetizer

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced  (I used mayan sweet onions)
  • 1/4 tspn salt and 1/4 tspn black pepper
  • 1 pound pork sausage, casings removed, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

For the shell:

  • 24  pieces of  2″ x 2” squares of triple layers of phyllo (which is about 6 sheets of phyllo in total)  See package for usage instructions.

You will need a mini cupcake pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (olive oil or canola oil prefered).  If you use this recipe for larger cupcakes, you will need another ply of phyllo for each cup.  Also this appetizer can be made vegetarian just by eliminating the sausage and adding in more cheese and placing a black kalamata pitted olive on top.

the thinly sliced onion before.
the thinly sliced onion before.

In a large pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized; about 20-25 minutes.

then after, caramelized onion
then after, caramelized onion

Remove onions from skillet and place aside.

In the same pan, do not clean it from the caramelizing.  Turn heat down to medium-low.  Add in sausage.  While it is cooking take your wooden spoon or spatula and break down the sausage to smaller pieces.  Once cooked through, about 10 minutes, drain fat, if any.  Leave in pan and add back the onions and let cook together for 5 minutes on low heat.

Breaking down the sausage while cooking.
Breaking down the sausage while cooking.

Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375F.

In your cupcake tin sprayed with oil, gently place the squares of phyllo into the pan by pushing them into each spot with your finger tips until they adhere with the shape, without tearing.  If you cause a tear grab extra piece of phyllo and cover the hole.

Once the phyllo is in place take the filling and fill it with 1 tbsp and then cover it with a sprinkle of the cheese.

Before baked.
Before baked.

Pop into the oven for 20 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Voila!  The finished appetizer- Caramelized onion with sausage
Voila! The finished appetizer – Caramelized onion with sausage


The apps Sunday
The two apps featured in my blog on Sunday- Polenta with mushrooms and the caramelized onion with sausage.

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