Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Brooke Dojny
I just bought a 5-pound bag of new-crop Maine potatoes. I wish I knew their variety -- whether round whites, Kennebecs or something else -- but the bag just says "all-purpose potatoes," so I'm assuming they are neither starchy and floury and russet-like or thin-skinned boiling potatoes, but something in between -- which is fine for this skillet potato dish that is something akin to scalloped potatoes.
POTATO AND SAUSAGE SKILLET SUPPER
Maine's vast Aroostook County, encompassing more area than the rest of the counties in the state combined, grows 90 percent of the large potato crop produced in Maine.
"The County," as it is affectionately known by its citizens, even holds a weeklong Potato Blossom Festival each July to celebrate all the spuds grown and harvested in our state.
This savory skillet-supper dish, made with the garlicky smoked Polish or Portuguese sausage that is so common all over New England, uses the new crop of Maine potatoes and is perfect for a meal on a chilly autumn evening.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces kielbasa, linguica or chourico or other similar garlicky smoked sausage, cut in 1/4-inch slices (see note)
1 large onion, sliced
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced (5 to 6 cups)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple juice or apple cider
½ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf, broken in half
In a very large (11- or 12-inch) lidded skillet with sides at least 2 inches high, heat the oil. Add sausage and onion and saute over medium heat, stirring until onion softens and sausage begins to brown, about 6 minutes.
Add the sliced potatoes, sprinkle with the flour, thyme and pepper, and toss gently but thoroughly to combine well. Pour broth, wine and apple juice over the potato mixture and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cook covered until the potatoes are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf before serving directly from the skillet.
NOTE: Linguica and chourico, made by the Gaspar Portuguese sausage company in Rhode Island, are quite readily available in many Maine supermarkets. Linguica is the thinner, less spicy sausage; chourico is fatter and hotter. Both are delicious!
WINTER GREENS WITH CRANBERRIES AND TOASTED SEEDS
This is my favorite basic French-style vinaigrette formula, the one I use to dress almost all green salads, including this lovely combo of dark greens, dried cranberries, and toasted seeds. Vinaigrette comes close to being an almost all-purpose sauce, good not only on salads, but also on roasted or other cooked vegetables, as well as grilled meat or fish. I usually double this dressing recipe so that it's always there in the refrigerator, standing at the ready. If you use the 4 tablespoons of vinegar, this formula veers toward the slightly sharp side, but you can adjust it by using the smaller amount of vinegar if you like.
MY FAVORITE VINAIGRETTE:
3 to 4 tablespoons good wine vinegar, red or white
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
8 tablespoons good olive oil, or a combination of olive and vegetable oils
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
Four large handfuls of dark leafy greens -- a combination of arugula, spinach, mustard, and Romaine, or others
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, shallots, mustard and sugar. Whisk in the oil. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake or whisk again before using.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool.
In a large salad bowl, combine the greens with the cranberries and seeds. Toss with enough dressing to coat the leaves and serve.
Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently "Lobster!" (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: