Of all the vices out there, jealousy is one that I’m actually not particularly prone toward. I go in much more for some of the other ones (none of the interesting ones, I’m afraid, mostly just doubt. If I were to choose which vice I would rather have be my predisposition, I think I would choose sloth. I don’t know why. It’s an odd thing to think about anyway, so I’m going to stop now.)
However, all bets are off when we come to the realm of food. At times, I can be rather a slave to food jealousy. I’m that girl at a restaurant several tables over, craning my neck and trying to figure out what you’re having and wishing that I had ordered it (“I’ll have what she’s having”…) If we go out for ice cream, I take forever to decide which flavor to get, and then as soon as I have my little cup I’m immediately jealously eyeing everyone else’s luscious looking heaping cones of, I don’t even know what that is, butter brickle? Oreo? Purple razzle-dazzle chunky lola choco-madness? It doesn’t matter. I’m just jealous of it.
It’s something that I try to stay aware of so that if I sense food jealousy brewing I can immediately squelch it. Because, how horrible is it to have a lovely meal tainted by a pointless sense of dissatisfaction? Very horrible, say I. ( Any type of jealousy does you no good really. Much better to do your best to “want what you have and don’t want what you don’t have.” (I can’t remember exactly who said that, I think it was some Buddhist monk.))
But, it still happens. And this is why, when I was on the phone with my mother the other day, and she told me that she had taken my brother, aunt, and grandmother out to dinner at a place with the “most amazing side dishes” and they had had sweet potatoes with andouille sausage that was to die for, the direct wire that runs from my brain to my stomach lit up instantly and blindingly with the message, “I want that!”
I wanted to eat sweet potatoes with andouille sausage. Why hadn’t I gotten to have any? (Oh right, I live in a different state, shoot.) I want it now! … My food-brain intercom sounded rather a lot like Veruca Salt was in charge at that moment. But, I pulled myself together and quickly realized, hey, I could just make sweet potatoes with andouille sausage myself! Easy!
Easy, and delicious! This is something of a cross between a hash and a big pan of roasted vegetables. The sweet potatoes, onion, and sausage are all chopped small so you can get a good mix in each bite. Roasting brings out the wonderful underlying sweetness of the potatoes and onion, and then I figured the sausage could just roast in there too, to save on clean up. The smokey spiciness of the sausage adds a richness and liveliness to the mix and provides a nice counterpoint to the sweet potato. I think chorizo would work fabulously too if you wanted an alternative to andouille.
And, I sprinkled the sweet potatoes with just a pinch of smoked paprika, to echo the flavor of the sausage and unify the flavors. I threw in some handfuls of spinach at the very last minute to bulk the dish up. You could skip this step, but I thought it added a nice freshness and contrasting crunch to the other ingredients.
These sweet potatoes would make a nice side dish for any barbecued meat or any main dish with Cajun or Spanish flavors. But, I actually found it filling enough to be a light meal on it’s own. And, being that it’s only a baby step away from being a hash, it is, of course, quite tasty with a poached or fried egg perched on top.
And now you can make it too! So there’s no need to be jealous.
Sweet potatoes with andouille sausage (serves 4-6 as a side)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, or one very large one
- 1 yellow onion
- 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika, or you could even try chili powder)
- salt and pepper
- 6-8 oz. pre-cooked andouille sausage (chorizo would also work)
- several handfuls of baby spinach (around 4 oz.)
- Preheat your oven to 425F.
- Wash the sweet potato – no need to peel, just remove any icky spots – and cut it into small cubes (about 1/2 inch). Peel and dice the onion.
- Toss the sweet potato and onion with the olive oil and paprika and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and pop into the oven.
- Cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring now and then, until just starting to get tender. In the meantime, dice the sausage into pretty small pieces too (just about the same size as the sweet potato pieces or a little smaller)
- Stir the sausage in with the roasting sweet potato and onion and let roast about 5 minutes more or until the sweet potato pieces are quite soft when poked with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and toss the hot mixture with the spinach – the spinach should just lightly wilt – transfer to a serving bowl and serve!