Spicy Sausage with Russet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Cream Sauce Casserole

casserole, gluten free, dairy free, sweet potato, sausage, turkey, pork, venison, cream sauce

Nobody likes two-faced people, and saucy and spicy two-faced types are usually disliked even more, but I think you’ll really like this slightly two-faced, saucy, and spicy casserole, Spicy Sausage with Russet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Cream Sauce. Especially if you have members of your family who don’t necessarily agree on their potato choices. This casserole makes for a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free meal. Basically, it’s a scalloped potato dish topped with a lovely cream sauce and spicy sausage patties.

Let me give you a little history on the potato “affiliations” in our house. (Of course, as always, feel free to scroll down to the recipe and skip this part.) While I’ve previously shared the benefits of potatoes here on gfe in my Heavenly Hash Browns post, personally I don’t want to eat them all the time. Unlike the head of the Washington State Potato Commission (who ate 20 potatoes a day for 60 days straight, and had some surprising health results, although I think the data measured was rather limited), I’m pretty sure I’d be lying uninterested and fairly unresponsive on the couch if I ate nothing but potatoes 24/7 for two months. Or even if I ate potatoes (other than sweet potatoes) daily in a much smaller amount as part of my regular meals for that period of time.

But Mr. GFE is a bit of a different story. If offered a potato option as one of many sides when dining out, he will instead opt for rice, pasta, or a side salad. But if I give him a choice of sweet potato or any other potatoes (white/red/Russet/Yukon Gold), he’ll choose the latter every time. He is not a sweet potato fan. At all. Sometimes he’ll “allow me” to add a small amount of sweet potato in some dishes without voicing a complaint. If he can’t see it or can see the sweet potato, but doesn’t notice a big different in texture, he’s fine with the addition of sweet potato. I admit that I’ve sometimes wistfully hoped for a sweet potato conversion for Mr. GFE one day as Son and I love them, but I must acknowledge it’s unlikely to happen. Mr. GFE still talks about the evening of his youth when his dad talked him and his brother into eating sweet potatoes by calling them “music roots.” Now seriously, that label makes absolutely no sense at all, but somehow it worked. But only once. To be honest, I, myself, never liked sweet potatoes before I went gluten free, but once I started embracing all the foods I could eat and going for naturally sweet choices in foods, sweet potatoes became a regular part of my diet. Luckily, Son learned to love them at an early age from all his grandparents.

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But let’s talk more about the specifics of today’s recipe, shall we? One of the key players is sausage. In my case, I made venison sausage. The original recipe is a paleo recipe for Turkey or Pork Breakfast Sausage. That’s an adaptation of a recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (now Sally Fallon Morrel) and Mary Enig. The adapted sausage recipe is a good recipe “as is,” but I’ve learned to spice it up quite a bit more for our tastes and I always add two eggs versus the one that’s recommended.

We had been simply enjoying the sausage along with veggies and side dishes for some dinners (or breakfasts), until I remembered a Sausage and Potatoes Casserole recipe from long ago—as in “before we were married” long ago. It needed some tweaking as it called for gluten-full canned soup. I decided to employ some sweet potato “savviness” that I had invented on a camping trip last year. The basics were a jar of leftover dairy-free milk (the first time I used the better part of a can of full-fat coconut milk), part of a large sweet potato, half a large onion, and a “dose” of garlic that I threw into the cooler as we were headed out the door. Some extra virgin olive oil from our food box helped bring them all together in a sauce pan to create a creamy dairy-free sweet potato sauce that I used for a shrimp and pasta dish. Son had brought along several friends and they all thought it was a wonderful part of our meal.

Because this recipe is made in a typical casserole dish with some layering, the first time around I decided that it would be easy to use both Russet potatoes and sweet potatoes—some of each on each side. Well, yes, it turns out that it was quite easy, and it made both Mr. GFE and I happy! Because Mr. GFE eats more than I do, my casserole was actually about 2/3 Russet potatoes and 1/3 sweet potatoes that time. I’ve also made this dish with just Russet potatoes as the base and it’s wonderful that way, too. So choose whichever option will work for your family. In other words, you don’t have to be overly two-faced unless you want to be. But you’ll definitely want to go with the slightly two-faced “saucy” approach no matter what. I like saucy. Saucy makes life more interesting and often tastier, and that’s the case with this recipe and the Sweet Potato Cream Sauce that I used. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients and multi-part recipe; this one is really quite easy to make and works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Remember that saying … “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out credit card.” How nice that this recipe can also be considered a budget meal (although clearly that was not the intent of the saying).

Finally, here’s Son’s two-part, but succinct review of this casserole. After first bite:  “This is great.” After second bite: “Wow, this is amazing.” I loved hearing those words. Enjoy!

casserole, gluten free, dairy free, sweet potato, sausage, turkey, pork, venison, cream sauce

Spicy Venison Sausage Casserole with Russet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Cream Sauce
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

Ingredients

One pound of venison sausage formed into patties and mostly cooked (see recipe at the bottom of this post and further directions in notes below)

5 cups Russet potatoes, thinly sliced (or a combination of Russet and sweet potatoes; see instructions)

Sea salt, amount to taste

Ground black pepper, amount to taste

5 slices of partially cooked bacon (optional ingredient, but preferred; I used uncured, nitrate-free bacon)

Sweet Potato Cream Sauce

About 1 tbsp or so of extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice, for skillet)

½ large sweet onion, finely chopped

½ cup red pepper, chopped (optional; fresh red pepper or fire-roasted red pepper from a jar)

1 tsp minced garlic (omit if using Majestic Garlic Spread; see below)

About 2/3 cup sweet potato, mashed (about one large sweet potato)

1 heaping tbsp Majestic Garlic Spread Creamy Garlic flavor (optional, but it’s a terrific addition)

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk, of choice; full-fat coconut milk works well, too; dairy milk may also be used for those who eat dairy)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish.

Place potatoes in baking dish in as many layers as needed. (If using both Russet potatoes and sweet potatoes, place Russet potatoes on one side and sweet potatoes on the other.)

Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt and pepper.

Place slices of bacon lengthwise on top of the potatoes. Set baking dish aside.

Add extra virgin olive oil to medium-sized sauce pan; turn up heat to almost medium. Add onion, red pepper, and minced garlic (if using actual garlic). Sauté for a few minutes until onion is translucent.

Add in a little of the almond milk, stirring with a whisk. Add in the sweet potato, whisking it into the mixture. Slowly add in the rest of the almond milk, continuing to use whisk to fully incorporate ingredients. (You can even use a “stick blender”—i.e., immersion blender, like this one—to create a super creamy, smoother, and prettier sauce if you’d like.) Cook at least a few minutes longer until sauce thickens some.

casserole, gluten free, dairy free, sweet potato, sausage, turkey, pork, venison, cream sauce

Pour cream sauce over potatoes, using spatula if needed to distribute sauce evenly.

casserole, gluten free, dairy free, sweet potato, sausage, turkey, pork, venison, cream sauce

Top with sausage patties.

Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes longer, as needed. Test potato with fork for doneness.

Shirley’s Notes:  Feel free to use your favorite purchased gluten-free sausage in this recipe. You must partially cook the bacon so that it will be done at the end of the baking time. (I did not do that when these photos were taken and regretted it as the bacon was not crispy enough, but did the next time I made the casserole. Big improvement!) I added my bacon to the pan when I cooked the sausage patties and just removed to a paper towel-lined plate (with the sausage patties) when it was about half way done cooking. You may also bake this casserole at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour if you prefer. This info can be helpful when you are baking another dish that requires a temperature of 350 degrees.

Spicy Venison (or Beef, Turkey, or Pork) Sausage

1 lb ground venison (or ground turkey or pork)

1 ½ tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp black pepper

1/3 tsp nutmeg

1/3 tsp oregano

1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (can omit for much less spicy version)

¼ tsp ginger

1 ½ tsp poultry seasoning

1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Mix all together and, ideally, chill one hour. Chilling allows the flavors to come together nicely and the eggs to help bind the mixture, but if you’re in a rush, you can chill for less time or skip this step.

Form sausage into patties and cook in large skillet over medium low to medium heat until desired doneness. (Because I was using this sausage in a recipe that would be baked for a good while, I purposely undercooked my patties.)

Drain, if needed, on a paper-towel lined plate.

Makes about 12 small patties.

Adapted from Caveman Food

This post is linked to Whole Foods FridayAllergy-Free Wednesdays, and Gluten-Free Wednesday (here and here), and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Shirley
Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.

Comments

34 Responses to “Spicy Sausage with Russet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Cream Sauce Casserole”

  1. Carol on August 16th, 2012 4:23 pm

    I like saucy people – two faced ones I can do without. And I love saucy dishes! This sounds wonderful. I will admit, I am much more likely to make with turkey sausage than venison so thanks for giving us an alternative!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 3:41 pm

      Carol–Glad we’re in agreement on the types of folks we don’t need and the types of dishes we do need! ;-) Any type of sausage would be great in this recipe. I always thought sausage was something very complicated to make, but with this recipe, any ground meat of choice quickly becomes delectable sausage. And it’s great in this recipe! :-)

      Shirley

  2. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on August 16th, 2012 10:14 pm

    what a delicious dish! that sauce sounds incredible! yum!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 3:42 pm

      Hi Caralyn–Thank you! This one’s a pleaser and the sweet potato cream sauce is so versatile. :-)

      Shirley

  3. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) on August 17th, 2012 8:33 am

    My boys (all three) love yukon gold potatoes preferably in the form of mashed potatoes. I love them all pretty much any way you make them. This casserole sounds perfect! I love the mix of the potatoes too! YUM!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 3:56 pm

      Sarena–I am weak for all kinds of potatoes myself! Yukon Golds are certainly near the top of my list. Fingerlings prepared certain ways also make me very happy. Russet potatoes baked in the goals are another nirvana food for me. ;-) I love that I was able to incorporate sweet potatoes in making this dairy-free sauce and that everyone loved it. :-)

      Thanks, dear!
      Shirley

  4. Ina Gawne on August 17th, 2012 8:36 am

    Shirley – I love dishes like this! So much going on with all of those wonderful flavors! What a great idea for the sauce too – yum!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 3:57 pm

      Ina–This recipe does sound like your kind of dish!! I hope you will love it if you give it a try. Thanks for leaving your usual wonderful comment, dear. I appreciate you as a gfe reader! :-)

      Shirley

  5. Linda on August 17th, 2012 4:42 pm

    My husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes either, though he would choose any other potato over rice. Like you, I have hoped to convert him, and I did make progress a couple of years ago when I got him to eat sweet potato fries. He doesn’t like them any other way, though.

    Venison sausage sounds yummy! In fact, this whole dish sounds delicious.

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 4:02 pm

      Hi Linda–It’s so funny to read about all these hubbies who don’t like sweet potatoes! I think hubby has eaten sweet potato fries once in a restaurant (just a few, mind you) and will eat sweet potato chips if offered, but that’s about it. He doesn’t mind if I use them in this sauce or sneak them into hash browns now and then. ;-)

      The sausage is really good, and so easy to make! Thanks for the feedback. If you make this for you and your guys, I hope you’ll enjoy it. (You might want to skip the details on the sauce, until your husband has had a bite and realized how good it is. And maybe have a backup dish just in case …)

      Shirley

  6. Jessica on August 17th, 2012 4:58 pm

    Yum! We have the same bi-partisan potatoship in our house. The Mr. will eat anything but sweet potatoes, but the littles are starting life out on the right foot by liking them all. ;)

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 4:05 pm

      Good job on teaching the kiddos sweet potato love, Jessica! One really has to wonder why sweet potatoes cause such partisanship, as you call it … and that’s a good term. ;-)

      Thanks for the feedback, dear! :-)

      Shirley

  7. Lynne on August 17th, 2012 5:08 pm

    We love sweet potatoes any way at all and the sauce sounds fantastic! Saucy…gotta have sauce!! I’ve never made my own sausage before…not much into “game”, but turkey or pork sounds great. I have a feeling this is going to become one of my staple dishes! Thanks so much!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 4:07 pm

      Hi Lynne–Thanks! I don’t think you can go wrong with any “base” that you decide to use for this sausage. ;-) I hope this recipe does become a staple for your family! ;-)

      Shirley

  8. Alisa on August 17th, 2012 5:12 pm

    Oh that Majestic spread! I still need to order some.

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 4:09 pm

      Alisa–Yes, you do need to order some Majestic spread! You know how some people put ketchup on everything … I’m becoming that way with Majestic. It’s just magical in place of dairy for that mouth feel, and a little goes a very long way! Gotta love that, too. :-)

      Shirley

  9. Sophie on August 18th, 2012 9:41 am

    What a grand, tasty & fabulous recipe, Shirley!:)

    MMMMMMMMMMMM! A georgous creation, that I must try!

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 4:11 pm

      Awww, Sophie … your comments always make me happy! Thank you so much, my dear! :-)

      Shirley

  10. InTolerant Chef on August 19th, 2012 7:17 pm

    My girls and I all adore sweet potatoes but hubby is not a fan at all! Maybe it’s a guy thing :)

    • Shirley on August 19th, 2012 9:33 pm

      Hi InTolerant Chef–Well, it’s certainly starting to sound like it *could be* a guy thing. Further research might be required. ;-) Thanks for the input, dear!

      Shirley

  11. Donna Strickler on August 20th, 2012 8:32 am

    Hi Shirley … thanks so much for this recipe. My family has been somewhat resistent to anything I make gluten free, but this just might work for them! Now, a quick question – have you heard anything about a product called “Ultimate Lectin Defense”? A friend of mine sent me the link below, but I’m really leery of it:
    http://landing.truehealth.com/products/ultimate-lectin-defense/TEL_LP01_NOF_CR.asp?SC=TEL1HP2A
    Thanks!

    • Shirley on August 20th, 2012 1:48 pm

      Hey Donna–The trick to winning the family over is just using real food ingredients or mainstream ones that they like that are also gluten free. If you all eat dairy, you could just as easily make a scalloped potatoes recipe and top it with this sausage for a similar effect. When family eats gluten-free food that doesn’t have weird tastes or textures, they usually come on board pretty quickly. After all, it’s just “plain good food,” and who doesn’t love that? ;-)

      Another reader asked me about the Ultimate Lectin Defense so I guess that particular “save the gluten-free world” supplement is making the rounds. ANY product, like this one or one of many others on the market, are only helpful in the sense that they may help break down gluten after you’ve ingested it ACCIDENTALLY. For that reason, I take a product called Gluten Defense when I eat out and run the risk of being glutened. Similarly, other friends take other enzymatic therapy supplements to help in case they experience ACCIDENTAL gluten exposure. But there is NO product on the market that allows you to eat gluten purposely with no repercussion. I repeat NO product. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. And so forth and so on. There’s at least one drug in trials to prevent damage to folks if they accidentally get glutened, but that is still in trials. Yes, always be very leery of such products, especially when the company reps or customers’ words are shared saying things like “I can now eat gluten all day long with no worries.” This is quite frankly BS. And lack of a reaction never means there is not damage being done. In fact, about 40% of those diagnosed with celiac disease have no symptoms at all, but the damage to the small intestine proved that they were being damaged anyway. So my advice is to stay away from such products unless you find them helpful in recovering from ACCIDENTAL glutening. I don’t mean to “scream” with my repeated use of all caps, but I can’t emphasize that point enough. Thanks for asking the question, dear. Stay safe!

      Shirley

  12. Debi on August 20th, 2012 1:30 pm

    I think Mr. GFE and Chaz need to get together one day and talk about their food quirks. Chaz loves nuts on their own, but HATES them in or on his food. I can’t even sneak them in. He doesn’t complain about almond flour crusts…yet. He wouldn’t even try one of Johnna’s Chocolate Bourbon cupcakes the other day because there were nuts sprinkled on top. His loss! I devoured mine. LOL

    • Shirley on August 20th, 2012 1:59 pm

      Debi–LOL … now let’s be serious a moment, shall we? I’m pretty certain that neither Mr. GFE nor Chaz have food quirks; they have, ahem, “preferences.” ;-) And I know that they would never take our advice and discuss them. Their likes and dislikes in beers perhaps. (That’s often a man thing, right?) Hehe. Mr. GFE loves nuts by themselves and in baked goods, but that’s not an unusual “preference.” My BIL will not eat anything that includes nuts. Oh, Johnna’s Chocolate Bourbon cupcakes sound divine. His loss indeed! ;-)

      Shirley

      • Debi on August 20th, 2012 2:06 pm

        Preferences! LOL The beer discussion would be very short. Chaz doesn’t like beer either. He could talk about bourbon all day though. :D They were divine! There was a chocolate bourbon filling in the middle…TO DIE FOR! :D I enjoyed every bite. hehehe

        • Shirley on August 21st, 2012 8:38 pm

          Debi–I didn’t remember the love for bourbon, but now that you mention it, I do remember Chaz drinking other things at the Expo. ;-) Mr. GFE is a beer drinker and not so much on anything else. I’m sure they’d have other stuff to discuss though!

          The more you mention those cupcakes, the more I want one!

          Shirley

          • Debi on August 24th, 2012 3:35 pm

            I’ll try not to mention those small packed goods of deliciousness anymore. :D I’m sure Chaz and Mr. GFE would at least find some sci-fi topic in common!

          • Shirley on August 25th, 2012 10:48 pm

            But you’ll want to be in on that conversation, too, Debi. ;-)

            Shirley

  13. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on August 21st, 2012 12:21 pm

    All I can say is that this casserole is the perfect combination of everything my family loves!! I am so making this this week. Oh, and the bacon added would be a must in my house. :D
    I love what Son has to say about this. Hoping my Sons give the same review. Will keep you posted. I need to get on ordering more Magestic Spread. I cannot believe I am already through all of the stuff I bought when I was out there.
    xo
    k

    • Shirley on August 21st, 2012 10:28 pm

      Kim–This dish is spicy, so you might have to tone it down for the little guys.

      I will never be able to live without Majestic Garlic Spread again. The Creamy Basil flavor is the one I use the most these days. It’s so great for providing that dairy mouth feel with no dairy. Mr. GFE never complains about it; in fact, he loves everything I’ve made with it! :-) And, yes, you can easily go through lots of tubs of it. I buy a LOT whenever I order.

      xo,
      Shirley

  14. Megan @ Allergy Free Alaska on August 24th, 2012 3:39 am

    I really need to get me some of that Majestic Garlic Spread!! It sounds divine!

    Thank you for sharing your recipe over at Whole Food Fridays, Shirley. I’m such a sucker for venison, potatoes (even though I can’t/shouldn’t have them), and of course… bacon. ;) You ever want to get me to do something, just include bacon and I’ll say yes. Lol.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    xo
    Megan

    • Shirley on August 25th, 2012 10:47 pm

      Oh, Megan, you would love the Majestic Garlic Spread! You’ll have a hard time choosing between all the flavors though. ;-)

      Bacon is THE irresistible ingredient for many!

      Hope you’re having a great weekend, too. :-)

      xo,
      Shirley

  15. Margaret@KitchenFrau on September 3rd, 2012 2:14 am

    I often get venison from my sister who is a hunter and am excited to try this recipe, because I love, love, love sweet potatoes (as does everyone in my family, luckily)!

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