22 August 2010

Sausage, Potato, and Pepper Bake

Chris and I have had this dish a few times, and every time it is amazing. As with any casserole, the exact proportions are forgiving, as long as you keep it mostly right. As it happened, I had some delicious sourdough of which I had baked up two loaves, and the second loaf was going stale. Knowing that, and having plenty of bell peppers and potatoes, I went and picked up some hot italian sausage to make this casserole.

I really only have a word or two of caution for this dish. Make sure your potatoes are browned, as this is essential for the right texture and taste for the 'taters. And, less importantly, if your bread is very crusty, either let it soak or remove the crust before cubing it (the pieces on top will get a new crust when baking, and this prevents burning and chewiness). I did the latter this time, and it turned out wonderfully.

Sausage, Potato, and Pepper Bake
adapted from King Arthur Flour
yields 10 servings

1 pound sausage, crumbled
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced red bell or green peppers
3 to 4 medium Red Bliss or Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, wedged
6 cups sourdough bread, cubed
2 cups milk
6 medium eggs
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Brown the crumbled sausage in a cast-iron pan, remove from the pan, and set aside.

3. In the same pan (with the sausage fat) sauté the onions and peppers until just tender; remove from the pan and mix with the sausage.

4. Place the potatoes in the pan and fry until browned and tender (even with the sausage fat, I find this still takes an extra tablespoon of butter so that the potatoes don't stick badly).

5. Mix the sausage, vegetables and bread back into the pan with the potatoes.

6. Mix the milk, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper; pour over the ingredients in the cast-iron pan. (At this point, the dish may be refrigerated for several hours, or up to overnight.)

7. Bake the casserole for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. Remove from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.