Who doesn't love a baked potato? I think that most of us order this lovely starch vegetable as a side dish whenever we all go to restaurants. We pile high the butter and sour cream, and sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper. Now although I do love the traditional way of eating a baked potato I like to change it up now and then to make it more interesting! This particular night I decided to serve the baked potato as the main course. I made a deliciously creamy sauce with Italian sausage and sliced mushrooms, and poured it on top of the hot steamy baked potato. It tasted almost like a chicken pot pie, honestly folks, the taste was simply heaven!

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Baking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sweet or hot Italian style sausages, out of their casings
  • 2 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 large handfuls spinach or chopped kale
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional when serving)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the cleaned potatoes with a fork all over to help steam in the oven, then place the potatoes onto a large baking sheet. Bake it in the oven for 50 minutes, during which time you will be making the sauce.

2. In a large deep shallow pan, heat oil on medium heat, saute the onion and garlic for a minute. Season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Add in the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms have let out their natural juice. Add in the Italian sausage and break it up using a wooden spoon, cook for several minutes or until the sausage has cooked through.

3. Sprinkle in the 2 tbsp of flour and stir it around to coat. Cook the flour for a minute or so to take out the raw flour taste; then pour in the chicken stock and milk. Let the sauce come up to a bubble and keep stirring until all of the ingredients have come together. Add in the spinach or chopped kale at this point, and once it has wilted down, take the pan off the heat.

4. Take out the baked potatoes, and mark an X on top of each using a very sharp knife. Using your hands, squeeze each potato together and it should open up easily for you, creating almost a pocket which the sauce can be filled in. Plate each potato, top generously with the sauce, then sprinkle with cheese and green onions if you wish. Serve immediately.


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