This is the perfect dish for fall – it’s a bit labor intensive but you can easily do it in parts, AND the results are so very worth the effort. I used a combination of chicken and pork sausage, just to keep the calories on the lower end, but any combination of sausage would work. I would avoid heavily spiced sausage like some of the gourmet varieties. The simple flavors work best in this recipe. The rösti potato topping is a bit indulgent (thanks to the butter) but don’t skimp; it is worthwhile. The recipe was adapted from Food & Drink, Autumn 2011.
- sausage - 2 pounds, use good quality pork, chicken, turkey or whatever
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- onion - 1 large, thinly sliced
- root vegetables - 3 cups - carrots, rutabega, turnip, parnsip - use your imagination
- garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
- chicken stock - 1 cup, low sodium (or homemade) chicken stock or broth
- bay leaf - 1 each
- apple cider - 1 cup
- cornstarch - 1 1/2 tbsp
- plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
- salt and pepper - to taste
- For potatoes:
- yukon gold potatoes - 2 pounds, peeled and cut into 3-inch diameter chunks
- unsalted butter - 2 tbsp, melted
- parsley - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
- salt and pepper - to taste
1. Remove casings from sausage and break into chunks with your fingers. Fry the sausage chunks in about 1 tbsp of the olive oil at medium heat until lightly browned on all sides. Don't worry about cooking them through at this stage.
2. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain off all but about 1 tbsp of fat. Add the onion, garlic and root vegetables, adding more oil if necessary, and brown over medium heat until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about 7 minutes.
3. Add the thyme and bay leaf and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly and let boil over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the root vegetables begin to soften.
4. Return the sausage to the pan, add the cider, stir and bring back to a boil and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the sausage is cooked through.
5. Turn the heat off. Mix the cornstarch with the yogurt until smooth in a small bowl, then add to the sausage and stir gently until well combined. Return to the heat and bring to a slow boil until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside and prepare the potatoes.
6. Cover the peeled potatoes with water and bring them to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes or until they're barely cooked through (an inserted knife will pass through with little resistance). Drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool enough to handle.
7. Using a large hole grater, grate the potatoes, then add the butter, salt and pepper and toss lightly with a fork to combine.
8. Pour the pork mixture into a casserole pan and arrange the potatoes on top, being careful to NOT press them down. Bake at 425 for about 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling. Turn the broiler on high for the last few minutes to help the top brown, if needed.