What Smothered Potatoes and Sausage lacks in fanciness, it makes up in flavor. Not many ingredients: potatoes, the Trinity, and smoked sausage are just about it. Combine these ingredients with some stock and simple Cajun seasonings and simmer slowly for around 20 minutes. You won't believe the flavor that emerges. Sweet Daddy D’s Smothered Potatoes and Sausage is a simple, no-angst Cajun dish that checks all the boxes.
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The Epitome of a Cajun Dish
Traditional Cajun dishes, the ones that go back generations in south Louisiana, are often described by their frugal nature. Simple, inexpensive ingredients are prepared in a simple process. Generally, that process involves only one pot, like a cast iron Dutch oven, and takes a while to slowly simmer. These dishes served the purpose of spreading meager resources to feed many but doing so with a remarkable depth of flavor.
The typical Acadian settler, whether they be fishermen, farmers or ranchers were simple people. Their cooking techniques basically evolved from classic French techniques, molded by the necessity of their conditions. Dishes like Smothered Potatoes may be a product of their cultural expression. While Papa is off fishing or farming, Momma’s tending to household and family needs, with a couple of Cast Iron Dutch ovens hanging in the hearth filled with slowly simmering goodness. Potatoes would be plentiful as would smoked sausage from the latest Boucherie, which would have been grown or produced by the family or traded with relatives or neighbors in exchange for something they needed.
Here’s What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
Notes on Potatoes, Sausage, and Stock: Check out the Hints and Tips (FAQs) below for what types to use and what can be substituted.
Here is some of the equipment I used in making this recipe:
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Here’s What You Do
First…you have a beer. Even the simplest recipes go better when the cook is prepared and mise en place is performed. That starts by getting in the right frame of mind. Get a beer, sit down and read the recipe all the way through while you sip. Learn what ingredients and equipment you will need and what you will do with each one.
Mise en Place
Prepare all the ingredients before you begin cooking. If the ingredients are prepped and placed in small bowls, all you will have to do is assemble the recipe as you go.
- If using bacon, slice it into 1 to 2-inch pieces.
- Slice the smoked sausage into approximate ¼ inch medallions.
- Rough chop the Trinity (yellow onions, bell pepper, and celery) and place them all in a prep bowl together.
- Rough chop the garlic and place it in a prep dish.
- Combine the Herb and Spice Blend into a small prep bowl.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into approximately 1 to 1 ½ inch cubes.
- Measure the chicken stock.
Start with the Trinity and Seasonings
What happens in this step? The flavor profile for this dish is built from the bottom. Potatoes aren't very flavorful on their own, so here is where we start a foundation of intense flavor that will transform this dish into something more than just a pot of potatoes.
Start the bacon in a cold Dutch oven over medium heat.
Note on Bacon Grease: Alternately you can use 3 tablespoons of saved bacon grease or substitute vegetable oil. Check out the FAQs below for a word on how much bacon you need for this.
Once the bacon is crispy, about 6 or 7 minutes, remove the bacon and add the sausage. Brown the sausage for about 5 minutes, then remove it and reserve it for later.
Add the Trinity to the rendered fat and saute until starting to brown, which will take about 15 minutes. The onions should be mostly translucent and slightly brown on the edges.
Next, add the chopped garlic and the Herb and Spice Blend. Mix well and saute until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
Smother the potatoes
What Happens in this step? This is where we infuse rich flavor into the potatoes. Potatoes will be sauteed briefly in the flavor foundation that will intensify when deglazed. The smoked sausage will add the earthy, smoked flavor and all will meld while slowly simmering in a rich stock.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Now add the potatoes to the Dutch oven. Stir thoroughly to coat all of the potatoes with the trinity and bacon grease. Allow the potatoes to saute for about 5 minutes until some brown edges are showing up. Don’t stir too often so the potatoes have a chance to start browning.
Next, add the sausage back to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.
Add enough chicken stock to come up to the top of the potatoes. No need to completely cover the potatoes with stock, but just enough to come up to the top of the potatoes. That should be about 2 cups, that will depend on the size of your Dutch oven.
Tip on the stock: The natural starch in the potatoes will serve to thicken the sauce. Depending on the potatoes you use and the amount of time it all simmers, the thickness will vary. Have some extra stock reserved if you need to thin it out later.
Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the Dutch oven and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
Pro Tip: If you don't want the sauce to thicken quickly, completely cover the Dutch oven. If you want it to thicken, keep the cover off. If you want to monitor and control the thickening, partially cover the Dutch oven and alternate between covered and uncovered until it's the way you want.
Check the potatoes for doneness by probing with a fork or a skewer. When the potatoes are soft, they are done. If needed, continue to simmer another few minutes, but check frequently.
Serve it up
When the gravy is at a thickness that you like, it's time to serve. Add back the bacon if you like. The bacon is pretty crispy but it will lose its crispness if stirred into the sauce. If you want it to remain crispy, just sprinkle the bacon on top of your serving.
Smothered Potatoes with Sausage can be served as a side dish or as the main course. To serve as the main course, ladle the potatoes, sausage, and sauce over long grain rice, or your favorite rice. Serve a nice pork chop on the side and you have the makings of a feast.
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
I recommend a potato with a medium starch content, like Yukon Golds. You can use whatever type of potatoes you like or have on hand. A higher starch content potatoes like a Russet would be fine, but the amount of starch may make the gravy get too thick. Likewise, a red potato with a relatively lower starch content may not add enough thickening to the dish. I've found that Yukon Golds are just about right. That being said, if all I had was Russets or Reds, that's what I'd go with.
Again, use a sausage that you like. Make sure to use a smoked sausage as opposed to a fresh sausage. I use a Mild or Hot Smoked Pork Sausage, but Andouille would also be fine. Andouille would lend a little more spice and a different flavor profile to the dish than Smoked Sausage.
You can substitute Vegetable Stock for Chicken Stock. Other options are Beef Stock or plain water, although neither excites me very much.
My rule of thumb: Use 1 slice of bacon for each tablespoon needed.
Here's the TMI: It really depends on the size of the slices. Some slices can be shamefully thin while the other end of the spectrum is a thick-cut slice that makes a thud when you lay it in the pan. Using an average of 12 slices per pound, which is a nice, thick cut, I estimate a yield of between 2 and 3 teaspoons per slice. So that's about ⅔ to 1 Tablespoon of bacon drippings per slice of bacon. This is based on an estimated 1 cup of bacon drippings (fat, if you will) rendered from 1 ½ to 2 pounds of bacon. That sounds about right to me, based on my experience. If I need 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings, I fry 3 slices of bacon. If it looks like too much when I'm done, I simply remove so of the rendered drippings. This is not based upon scientific analysis. Other factors besides the thickness of the slice can come into play: how lean is the bacon and how are you rendering the drippings? Slowly fried in a cast iron pan will render more fat than frying it too fast on a lower quality surface. Too much to think about!
Allow the Smothered Potatoes to cool down prior to the refrigerator, but make sure to refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Leftovers can be held in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months, but I don't give a hearty endorsement to that. The fat in the bacon grease and sausage may help the potatoes maintain their texture, but it may not be up to the original quality. My suggestion is to freeze leftovers only as a last resort.
Reheat leftovers in a saucepan or skillet. Use medium heat and stir or shake until warmed through. You can also use the microwave to reheat the Smothered Potatoes.
Want some of that Cajun Smothered Goodness? Sweet Daddy D has you covered!
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Yeah You Right!
Smothered Potatoes and Sausage
Here's What You Need
- 3 tablespoons Bacon Grease See Notes
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes See Notes
- ¼ pound Smoked Sausage See Notes
- 2 cups Yellow Onions
- 1 cup Green Bell Peppers
- ½ cup Celery
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 2 cups Chicken Stock See Notes
Herb and Spice Blend
- 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Here's What You Do
- Place the bacon in a cold Sutch oven over medium heat. Fry the bacon to render grease until crispy. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the bacon from the Dutch oven,
- Add the sausage medallions to the bacon grease. Brown the sausage for about 5 minutes, then remove the sausage and reserve.
- Add the Trinity (yellow onions, bell peppers, and celery). Saute until starting to brown and the onions are beginning to turn translucent. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic and the Herb and Spice Blend. Stir to combine until aromatic. 2 Minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high.
- Add the potatoes to the Dutch oven. Stir to coat the potatoes with the Trinity mixture and continue to saute for about 5 minutes until the potatoes start to brown on the edges.
- Add the sausage back to the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Continue to saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to the Dutch oven, starting with a little to deglaze the bottom. Once you have deglazed the bottom, add the remaining stock. See Notes
- Simmer with lid partially on for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. If potatoes aren't ready, continue to simmer, checking every five minutes until ready.
- If you would like, add back the bacon. If you stir the bacon into the potatoes, they will lose thier crispness. If you want to maitain the crispness, sprinkle the bacon on top of each serving.
- Serve this over rice as a Main Course or without rice for a side dish.