Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Leeks

by Food Hound on April 11, 2013

in Main Dishes, Meat, Sides

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I could never, ever name my favorite food.  I would die from complications of carpal tunnel syndrome if I sat here long enough to type them all out.  There would be categories, sub-categories, time of day categories, country of origin categories, etc.

But…

If someone were to threaten me with, say, a lifetime ban from dsw.com, I would be forced to take action.  I would be forced to consider what might be my favorite food.

Ah!  Still can’t do it.  Too many foods, too much food love.  I’m a pisces, so I’m incredibly indecisive by nature.

(And… lucky for me, there’s a bricks-and-mortar DSW in a short drive to Nashville.  Plus, there’s a shot I might be asked to do a Food Hound cameo on the show ‘Nashville.’  But then I’d probably have to make out with Deacon because that’s what every character on that show ends up doing!!!  Scandi central!!!!)

So maybe I can’t name my all-time favorite food.  I can, however, tell you that there’s a list.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Leeks are on that list.

I’m not sure I’ve ever made something that hits so many of my favorite flavors and ingredients at once.  You have sweet-savory.  You have creamy.  You have cheesy (Gruyere = love).  You have sausage (not technically a flavor as much as it is just an actual food, but it’s a heavenly food).  You have leeks caramelized in butter (also heavenly).  All of these things in one dish.  Believe it.

I am completely aware that twice-baked potatoes have the stigma of classic 90s wedding fare, where they were served dry, cold, and as the precursor to some sort of horrifically flavorless wedding cake.  These are not those potatoes.  They aren’t even related.  These are rich, fabulous, and healthy if you consider that there isn’t anything in them that won’t serve some sort of good deed in your body.  (For the record, taste buds = major part of your body.)

Now.  There is one problem- the scooping and the stuffing.  I have a dog, I do enough scooping in my everyday life.  I find scooping sweet potato flesh out of its papery skin to be tedious and stressful because it breaks if you even look at it the wrong way.  If you love pretty food presentation and buy big, fat sweet potatoes, this will be easier for you.  If all that matters is that you get one pretty one for the blog post and then figure that your husband didn’t marry you for your potato-scooping skills, I have a brainy idea for you: ditch the stuffing part.  Skin the cooked sweet potatoes, mash the cooked flesh with all the other delectable ingredients, then slather it in a baking dish, top it with the cheese, and bake.  Voila, dinner just got easier.  Maybe not prettier, but definitely easier.

I only write about the best stuff coming out of my kitchen, and you might not know this, but I kiss my fair share of frogs- not every meal is a prince.  This one?  This is a king.  Or a queen (girl power).  OK, even a prince as long as it’s Prince Harry, who has totally turned out to be the handsome one, plus his hair is the color of sweet potatoes.  Twice–baked sweet potatoes.  With sausage and leeks.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Leeks
 
From Fine Cooking
Serves: 4 as main, 8 as side
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 3 leeks, white and light-green parts only, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 oz Gruyère, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Poke the sweet potatoes a few times with the tip of a knife and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake until completely tender when pierced in the fattest part with a skewer, about 60-90 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, breaking it into small bits with the edge of a slotted spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Pour off all but 1 T of the fat, add the butter, and return to medium heat. When the butter melts, add the leeks, thyme, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture just starts to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are very soft and starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add leeks to the sausage in the bowl
  5. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully cut them in half lengthwise and gently scoop the flesh into the bowl with the sausage and leeks, leaving about ⅛ inch of flesh in the shells.*** Stir the sweet potato flesh into the sausage mixture, mashing it as you go. Stir in the sour cream and ½ tsp salt.
  6. Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Mound the filling into the potato skins and top with the cheese. Put the potatoes on a large baking sheet and broil until the cheese is golden, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
  7. ***Want to make this even easier? Scoop all of the sweet potato flesh out of skins, mix with everything else as directed, and spread the final mixture into a 9x9 baking dish (just discard the sweet potato skins). Spread the cheese over the top of the whole dish, and broil as directed or bake for about 20 mins at 350 degrees F.
Notes
Leeks are great, but regular onions would work well, too. For those of you local to Knoxville, I used grass-fed pork sausage from Three Rivers Market (aka the Co-op) and it was the BEST sausage I have ever tasted!! It was super-lean and the flavor was perfect. OMG, what a treat. Buy some!

 

 

 

 

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