Fat potatoes for Fat Tuesday!
I don’t know how I originally overlooked this recipe back in the fall, but I was very excited to try it this week, as it contains all my favorites in one neat little package. Sausage? Check. Leeks? Check. Sour cream? Check. Sweet potatoes? Check. Fancy cheese? Check.
Depending upon your portion size and your appetite, this works equally well as a main dish or a side dish. It feels like a very strong side dish, so I would pair it with something on the plainer side like roasted chicken or broiled fish.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Leeks and Sausage by Martha Holmberg, Fine Cooking, October 2011 (printable recipe here)
4 small sweet potatoes (about 8 oz. each)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (or link sausage, casings removed)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. leeks, white and light-green parts only, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Gruyère
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil.
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, 35 to 60 minutes.
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 plate and set aside.
Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat and add the butter. When it melts, add the leeks, sage, thyme, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring stirring, 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.
When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully cut them in half lengthwise and gently scoop the flesh into a medium bowl, leaving about 1/8 inch of flesh in the shells. Mash the scooped flesh with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Stir in the sour cream and 1 tsp. salt. Fold the sausage and leeks into the mashed sweet potato and season to taste with salt.
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 in a 9×13-inch baking dish and broil until the cheese is golden, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Ready to go in the oven.