Hi, everyone. I’m back for another guest post. Today Nick and I had a fun morning skiing. We finally got enough snow for some cross-country skiing. Conditions were not perfect, but Lake Metroparks’ Chapin Forest Reservation was hopping as skiers released their pent-up urges to strap boards to their feet and have some fun. This was Nick’s second time, and he had a ball. He still shuffles in the skis. I haven’t persuaded him to glide yet. I did hear, though, all about how Curious George’s friend Bill said that skis were the most fun way to travel in deep snow. I didn’t get any pictures, though several people told me how cute Nick looked on his skis.
One great thing about Chapin Forest, by the way, is that they rent kids’ skis for $3 for the first hour, prorated for rentals less than an hour! Nick lasted about 35 minutes today, so I paid all of $2. I am grateful to the Lake Metroparks for making it so affordable. There are no other costs, by the way — the ski trails are free.
Being out in the cold weather also makes this a great time to think about heart-warming foods. This one is a doozy — a fabulous recipe that I’m definitely going to make again. As Lyn may have mentioned, I’m making an effort to give her a break in the kitchen by cooking a meal once a week or so. It’s a little intimidating, but I’m forging ahead. I think I was a reasonably competent bachelor cook, but my bachelor days are long past and my skills are a bit rusty.
Anyway, enough of that. A few weeks ago, our Fresh Fork CSA brought us andouille sausage. Lyn wasn’t sure what it was, but I’ve had this spicy pork sausage from Cajun country before and enjoyed it. If you don’t have andouille handy, chorizo makes a pretty good substitute. Andouille is fatty and flavorful. It is usually used as a way to add flavor rather than as a prime ingredient. We also had several sweet potatoes and a fistful of shallots, all stored from earlier weeks’ CSA shares.
With a goal of using up what we had on hand, I found Five And Spice’s recipe for sweet potatoes and andouille online. It’s kind of like a roasted hash. It would make a good side dish, though we used it as a light entree.
If there’s one cooking technique I’ve learned from Lyn, it’s to use recipes for inspiration, not as laws. Here is my version of the dish:
- 5 medium-to-large sweet potatoes
- a handful of shallots
- 1/2-3/4 pounds andouille sausage (I used 1.3 pounds, but see below…)
- some fresh baby spinach
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- paprika, smoked or regular (optional, see below…)
- Peel the sweet potatoes. Remove all yucky parts. If they are late-season organic sweet potatoes, as ours were, you will definitely have some yucky parts to cut out. Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes about 1/4″ on a side.
- Peel and chop the shallots.
- Clean the spinach.
- Preheat oven to 425 °F.
- Put the andouille in a frying pan and sear it on all sides until a probe thermometer in the middle reads a safe temperature. I cooked ours to 160 °F. It coasted to above 165 °F after I took it off the heat, which was my target temperature for killing any little nasties that might be in it.
- Toss together the sweet potatoes and shallots with the olive oil. I forgot the paprika, but this is where you would include it if you have a better memory than me. Put them in a roasting dish. (I used a 9×13 oven-safe glass pan.)
- Roast the potatoes until they are starting to get tender, about 20-25 minutes. While the potatoes roast, let the andouille cool enough to handle, then break it up into 1/4″ pieces.
- Stir the andouille into the roasted potatoes. Roast until the potatoes are deliciously tender, about 5 more minutes.
- Remove from oven. Toss with the spinach, which will wilt.
- Serve hot.
The flavor of the andouille melts all over everything and makes a wonderful savory-sweet mix with just a touch of zing. The small pieces of sausage and potatoes let the full flavor emerge in every bite.
I have a few things I would do differently next time. First of all, I used the full 1.3 pounds of andouille that we had. If you are used to lots of meat in your dishes, you would probably love it, but we, chez Lyn Style, have been gradually growing accustomed to vegetable-centric meals. I will use less andouille next time, such as the 1/2 to 3/4 pound I suggested above. Second, I might try leaving out the olive oil. Between the oil and the sausage, it was a bit too oily for my taste.
[I wouldn’t use less andouille. I would double the sweet potatoes instead. – Lyn]
Don’t worry about it being too hot because of the sausage’s Cajun roots. Nick and Sally couldn’t get enough of the sausage. I doubt they would have liked it straight up, but the veggies tempered its heat nicely.
Enjoy the snow, and try some sweet potatoes and andouille. Until next time, this is husband Stephen, signing out.