Real Food for Real Life

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On This Dreary Late October Day

On this dreary late October day, with Chris and I still not completely well from our bout with the flu, I needed something comforting and warm for dinner, something from the oven. In the pantry I spied a bag of baby Yukon Gold potatoes, and in the freezer, some smoked sausage links. I knew then we would be having homemade scalloped potatoes, flavored with browned sausage,onions, and garlic, hot and bubbly from the oven. Served with a green salad, this is all we need.

Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Sausage

3 lbs. (approximate) small, thin skinned potatoes
1 large onion
garlic loves- to taste (I use a lot)
12 to 16 oz. pkg. smoked sausage (kielbasa is fine)
8 to 12 oz. cheese of choice, grated
1 pint cream
milk, approximately 1/4 cup
kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, ground nutmeg
* Many amounts are approximate- use however much you have or like- it will all come together beautifully in the end.

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and thinly slice potatoes, Either simmer in water on the stove top until tender, or do as I did and cook in the microwave for 15-20 minutes (just invert a microwave safe dinner plate over the bowl to cover).
Grate your cheese of choice. In this instance I used up ends and pieces from my fridge- white cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, and cotija.

Thinly slice the sausage and brown over medium high heat. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in the pan.
Quarter and thinly slice the onions. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Brown the onions over med-high heat, until golden, add the garlic and saute another minute or two, until the garlic is softened and fragrant (don't let it brown, it can become bitter).
Oil a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Layer a little more than 1/2 the potatoes in the bottom. Sprinkle evenly over the potatoes all the sausage and onions, as well as a little more than 1/2 the cheese. Season liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Evenly spread the remaining potatoes over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Pour 1 pint of cream over the top, tilting the dish to ensure equal distribution. If the cream does not come half way up the dish, add a little milk to reach this point (this should not have to be very much). Sprinkle again liberally with kosher salt and ground pepper. Sprinkle on a light dusting of ground nutmeg (if you have any whole nutmeg and a grater or microplane, now is the perfect time to use it).
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 15, or until the top is browned and bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.

Makes a generous 6 main dish servings, or many side dish servings.

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