From the Archives :: Sausage, Kale & Potato Casserole

From Issue 16::SHELTER. Recipe by Ashley English, photo by Rikki Snyder.

Sausage, Kale & Potato Casserole
Warm and hearty, this is the sort of comfort food you want to turn to when the mercury dips. It can be made gluten-free by simply replacing the all purpose flour with a gluten-free option mix. Serves 6 to 8.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds sausage links (such as bratwurst) 
1 onion, diced
2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds white potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Liberally butter a 9 × 13-inch casserole dish and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage links and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on the outside and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

3. Return the pan to the heat and add the diced onion. Add more olive oil if necessary. Sauté the onions for five 5 minutes, then add the kale. Cook for 5 more minutes.

4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, whisking continuously, until beige and bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated and hot, about 1 minute.

5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, about two-thirds of the cheddar, and half of the Parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.

6. Lay half of the white potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Layer half of the sweet potatoes over that, and sprinkle with another pinch of salt and black pepper. Spoon half of the cheese sauce evenly over the layered potatoes. Cut the cooked sausage into ¼-inch slices, and layer half of them the slices over the cheese sauce. Layer half of the kale-onion mixture over the sausage.

7. Repeat this process for the remaining white potatoes, sweet potatoes, cheese sauce, sausage slices, and onion-kale mixture. Top with the remaining grated cheddar and Parmesan.

8. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until cooked through and browned on top. Allow the casserole to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.