Sausage & Sweet Potatoes

By CINDY COOPWOOD • Photography by RORY DOYLE

The season is shifting and along with it our collective palates. Rich, hearty dishes are what satisfy in fall. Smoky, savory, spicy, and earthy sweet flavors reign. Two of our favorite foods—sausages and sweet potatoes— fit the bill perfectly. Give these recipes a try and you’ll see that these humble basics will be the centerpiece for versatile and delicious fall meals.

 

Hearty Smoked Sausage and Chicken Stew

 

     Think Friday nights by the fire or Saturdays watching the game. This feeds a crowd and is a great alternative to chili.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into rounds
3 pounds skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon butter
2 large Yukon potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery 
1 cup sliced carrots 
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can baby lima beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
¾ teaspoon black pepper  

     Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add the sausage, and cook, stirring often, until browned. Place the sausage on a plate lined with paper towels. Add remaining tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven. Cook the chicken, in batches, until browned, about 5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken on a plate; set aside. 

     Next add the butter to the Dutch oven, and swirl to melt. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes, broth, Dijon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and return the chicken to the Dutch oven; reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

     Remove the chicken, and let cool slightly. Shred into bite-size pieces. Add the shredded chicken, sausage, lima beans, corn, and pepper to the Dutch oven, and simmer, stirring often, until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Ready to serve!

 

Fried Cabbage and Sausage Recipe

 

     This easy skillet recipe can be ready in less than thirty minutes, and with so few ingredients it’s perfect for busy school nights. Serve with warm cornbread!

4 tablespoons butter divided
½ large onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
14 ounces smoked sausage
1 large head green cabbage cored, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

     Place whole sausages (or cut in half) in skillet prepared with cooking spray Cook over medium-high heat until hot all the way through, turning often to brown on all sides. Remove sausages from skillet, keeping warm. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Then add the onion; sauté until translucent about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic to onion and cooking another minute.

     Add remaining butter, cabbage, red pepper flakes (if desired), salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings.

     Sauté until cabbage is wilted and slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, top with warm sausages, and serve directly from the skillet.

 

Italian Sausage and Peppers—Three Ways

 

     Sweet Italian sausages are combined with diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and lots of peppers and onion for an easy weeknight meal. Try this versatile recipe on a hoagie bun, alone as an entree, or tossed with pasta and generously topped with Parmesan cheese.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound package sweet Italian Sausage
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

     Add vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add whole sausages, cooking until browned on all sides. Remove sausage from pan and set aside; it does not need to be cooked through at this point.

     Add onion and peppers to grease left in pan and cook over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

     Slice browned sausages into 1 to 1½-inch pieces and return to pan along with tomato paste and all other ingredients.

     Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until sausage is cooked through and sauce is thickened.

     Serve on hoagie rolls if desired. Also delicious as a simple entree, or tossed with your favorite pasta such as penne! 

 

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup 

 

     This just exudes comfort. The smoky bacon is the perfect foil for the sweetness of the potatoes, and the coconut milk adds an extra layer of creaminess. It makes a beautiful first course! 

6 strips bacon, diced 
1 cup diced onion

2 garlic cloves minced 
1 large celery rib diced

3  sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, about 2 pounds 
½ teaspoon dried thyme 
4 cups chicken broth 
1 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoon salt 
teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste 
2 tablespoons parsley or fresh thyme to garnish, optional 

     In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Leave about 3 tablespoons grease in the pot; or more, for a more flavorful soup.

     Add chopped onion, and celery and cook 4 minuntes or until soft, stirring occasionally, then add 2 pressed garlic cloves and saute another minute.

     Stir in diced sweet potatoes, thyme leaves and 2 teaspoons salt. Pour in the chicken broth, partially cover and simmer 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

     Puree soup until smooth. (This may have to be done in batches.) Return soup to pot and stir in 1 cup coconut milk, or add milk to reach desired consistency. Then check seasonings adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve in warm bowls. Sprinkle the tops with bacon and garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.

 

Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries

 

     We can’t say enough about these fries! They are such a great side with burgers, grilled chicken, or just about anything. They’re also a fantastic appetizer for a hungry crowd! 

4 sweet potatoes, cut into sticks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Dipping sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic pressed
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, if desired

     Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

     Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil, paprika, and a generous sprinkle each of salt and pepper. Spread the fries out in an even layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. If needed, divide the fries between 2 baking sheets. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, gently flip fries and return to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender but crisp on the outside.

     While fries bake, melt the butter and garlic together in a small pan over medium heat. When ready, remove the fries from the oven and gently toss with the garlic butter. Top with grated cheese.

     To make dipping sauce: Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.

 

Regina’s Sweet Potato Biscuits 

 

     Natchez chef Regina Charboneau is famous for her butter biscuits, but we love her sweet potato version just as much! They’re a softer, sweeter biscuit because of the sweet potato.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar 
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 cup (2 sticks) salted margarine, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sweet potato, baked, peeled, mashed and chilled (to measure 1 cup) 
1¼ cups buttermilk, chilled  

     Put the flour, baking powder, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend the dry ingredients on low for 15 seconds. Add the butter, margarine, mashed sweet potato, and buttermilk to the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed and count to ten. There should be visible chunks of margarine and butter in the dough.

     Generously flour a work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 2 inches thick, fold into thirds, and roll again. Turn the dough one-quarter turn and roll out again to a 2-inch thickness. Fold into thirds again and repeat the process for a total of four to five times until the dough is smooth. The dough should have a yellow ribbon effect where the butter and margarine are rolled out. This is a good sign that the biscuits will be flaky. Roll the dough one last time to a 1½-inch thickness.

     Using a 2-inch floured biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. The biscuits are best if first frozen. Once frozen, transfer into a zippered plastic bag. (Unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months.)

     When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the frozen biscuits in the cups of 2 muffin tins; these biscuits are best if not baked on a baking sheet. Let the biscuits thaw in the tins in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake until the tops of the biscuits are golden, 23 to 25 minutes. Turn the biscuits out onto a wire rack and serve warm. Makes about 24 biscuits.  * First published in September/October 2019

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