Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Potatoes, Apples and Sausage! Oh, My!

Sunny, warm and beautiful!
Hethyr:  What a good day I had today!  I attended a yoga class, then walked our dog to the park for a picnic lunch.  As I write this, it’s 62°F and sunny and one of the last things on my mind is comfort food, but let’s face it – it’s the middle of February and winter isn’t gone by a long shot (at least in Colorado!).  Although it feels weird to be writing about a cold-weather dish on such a perfect day, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad to have this recipe on hand when the cold and snow return.

If you’re a regular reader, you may recall that we’ve done a post on apples, we’ve mentioned how inundated we were with squash for a while and we’ve just skimmed the surface in relation to beets.  But we haven’t even mentioned potatoes yet, which is a surprise to me since we have more of those on hand than just about anything else.  I am always racking my brain for new and interesting ways to use them and I came up with this winner the other night (when the temperature was around 0°F).  I threw in some apples for good measure.  ;)

"I just think they're neat!"
~Marge Simpson
Although potatoes are often thought of as comfort food, they are very good for you as well.  They are low in calories, naturally fat-free, high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber and they have the potential to lower blood pressure.  I almost always leave the skin on since that’s where a lot of the nutrients lie.  I recommend using organic potatoes as non-organic potatoes have been found with high pesticide levels.  You can read more about the health benefits of potatoes here.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!  Please feel free to leave comments with your substitutions as I’m always interested in new twists on an existing recipe.  Okay, I’m off to play outside again!  =)

Potato, Apple and Sausage Casserole
Serves 6
Obviously, we couldn't wait to dig in!

  • 2 pounds potatoes, skins on, diced 1/2”
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces linguica, andouille or kielbasa sausage, diced 1/2”
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium apples, cored, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  •  1 1/4 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F; in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water, then bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and set aside.

Taters, apples & sausage, oh my!
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onions are beginning to soften.  Add apples and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened.  Gradually add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme.

Ready to bake... cheesy goodness!
Transfer the potatoes and sausage mixture to the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce.  Transfer to a greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and casserole is hot throughout.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Note:  Leave out the sausage for a good cold-weather side dish for chicken or pork.  This would also be excellent with Gouda or smoked Gouda cheese!

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Jon:  As much as I love creative and eccentric recipes with colorful vegetables and fancy ingredient names that I can't pronounce, I occasionally have the same primal craving for meat and potatoes today as I did when I was a kid.  I also have a fondness for casseroles, thanks in large part to my mom.  She was the "Casserole Queen"... the master of combining five ingredients in a dish and baking it until it was ready to feed my brother and me for six consecutive meals.  So when Hethyr was tossing out ideas about ways to use some linguica and potatoes, I voted for the one that involved making a giant cheesy lump of goodness that reminded me of life in the old days.

Of course this recipe is a step above the five ingredient threshold to which my mom held firm (sorry Mom, I don't mean any disrespect... you know I cleaned my plate every meal for my entire childhood).  But this dish really satisfied my need for "comfort food" as Hethyr calls it.  It was nice and spicy thanks to the linguica, and it successfully fed me for several days.  Oh yeah, and it was freakin' delicious.

So now that I've unearthed my casserole-related memories from the eighties, I think it's time to blog some more about that radical decade.  Cindy Lauper, MTV, The Breakfast Club, Rubik's Cube, Miami Vice and parachute pants... coming soon.


  1. This begs for a glass of a really earthy pinot noir, a warm fire, and some good friends to laugh with all evening... a perfect winter evening!

  2. Sounds good to me - when are you coming for a visit?! ;)

  3. Love this - makes me smile! 80s??? yikes! Staci

  4. What a taste-tempting recipe, but I honestly must say that I've never heard of linguica before. I'm going to have to rush right out and find some!

  5. Linguica is a Portuguese sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika - it's nice and spicy! You can easily sub andouille or kielbasa if you can't find it. And if you can't find it, we'll just have to hit up Ranch Foods for some next time you're here. =)