2 lbs. smoked sausage, poached
8 oz. thick sliced bacon
3 Tbsp. bacon drippings
1 cup vegetable mirapoix
1/2 lb. Portabella mushrooms, diced
10 ears yellow corn, shucked and washed
2 cans diced Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. sweet basil
2 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour, if needed to thicken
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, as needed
6 cups rose-flavored or brown rice, cooked

The first thing you want to do is bring about a half-gallon of water to a rapid boil in a heavy aluminum oval roaster on top of the stove. Then set a link of sausage on the countertop, place a cooking chopstick or three-eighths inch dowel pin directly alongside the link (you'll use it as a block to keep from cutting all the way through), and begin making slices along the entire length of the sausage about every half inch or so. Repeat the same procedure with all the links.

Then when they've all been sliced, gently place them into the boiling water, reduce the fire to medium-low, and poach them for about 15 minutes this gets rid of a great deal of internal fat in the links and gets them ready for the grill.

In the meantime, in a 5-quart Dutch oven, saute the bacon over medium heat until the fat renders out. Then drop in the vegetable mirapoix and smother it in the bacon drippings (along with the diced mushrooms) until the mixture wilts, softens, and begins to brown slightly. While the veggies are cooking, take a sharp knife and slice the kernels off the ears of corn (also be sure to scrape away the 'corn milk' from the cobs with the spine of the knife). Then add the corn and 'milk' to the Dutch oven, stir in the Rotel tomatoes, drop in the bay leaves and basil, and season with the Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning.

At this stage of the recipe, with the fire on medium-high, continue to stir the mixture around and around in the pot, sprinkling in the flour as you go. When all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, lower the flame, cover the pot, and simmer the 'stew' for about 40 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the kernels turn tender and a creamy base forms. If for one reason or another you find that you need a little extra liquid, pour in scant amounts of chicken broth until the consistency reaches the thickness you desire. Be careful not to add too much, however; you don't want corn soup! This is also the time to adjust the salt and pepper content to your taste, if necessary.

Finally, about 10 minutes before you're ready to eat, fire up the grill and place the sausage links on the grating. Gently roll them back and forth, searing the sliced edges really well (but without scorching them). Then when they're sizzling from one end to another, serve them piping hot alongside a plate of steamed rice covered with a couple of hearty ladles full of spicy corn stew.

It's just like the good old days in the 'hood!

Chef's Hints1.) A mirapoix means a proportionate mix of onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and green onions diced to a rather fine consistency. You can make your own at home or buy it pre-cut in the produce section of most major supermarkets.

2.) If you decide that you want to make your corn stew meatless, instead of using bacon drippings to saute the mirapoix use butter or margarine instead. You will also want to substitute vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in the recipe.

3.) In the recipe above, I've used regular New Orleans smoked sausage. But the dish will turn out equally as tasty if you substitute Polish kielbasa, Creole hot sausage, or even Italian sausage or green onion sausage in its place.

4.) Here's a variation: if you'd prefer to do a 'sugar watchers' stew and eliminate the corn, three pounds of fresh green beans, cut into segments, make a nice alternative. The procedure is done the same as you'd do it for corn, with the possible exception of having to cook the stew a tad bit longer.

5.) If you can't find rose-flavored rice where you shop, you might want to substitute either jasmine rice or popcorn rice in its lieu. And, of course, brown rice is the perfect variety to use for 'sugar watchers.' The choice is yours.