Use Smoky Andouille Sausage To Bring Cajun Flavor To Potato Casserole

Tasting Table recipe developer Jessica Morone is a big fan of potatoes. "They always make the best side dishes," says Morone, and her Cajun Potato Casserole is the ultimate love letter to the ingredient. This spicy, cheesy, comforting side dish is the perfect addition to any dinner, especially with the cold winter months approaching. However, with the meaty addition of Andouille sausages, this casserole can even serve as a main meal. Andouille sausage originates from France and has become a popular ingredient in Cajun-style cooking. It's a coarse, smoked style of sausage typically composed of pork, pepper, onions, and a blend of Cajun seasonings, adding bags of flavor to this comforting potato dish. 

Morone's recipe calls for 12 ounces of andouille, chopped up and sauteed with onion and bell pepper till the sausage is browned and the vegetables tender. The marriage of these ingredients creates a savory, intensely flavored base to cut through the richness of the cheesy potato mixture. Andouille sausage has a smoky, meaty-tasting profile and its seasoning blend includes garlic, pepper, and cayenne. American versions tend to be spicier than the original French andouille, bringing a pleasing but subtle heat to the dish.

Adding additional Cajun flavor

Jessica Morone's casserole also brings in additional Cajun flavors through the use of a Cajun seasoning blend. If you don't have a Cajun seasoning blend at home, it's easy to make one, using your own individual spices. Typical Cajun blends include paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. Making your own allows you to customize the spice to your preference, and once you've perfected it, you can add it to other dishes, too. The Cajun spice mix plays off the seasonings used in the andouille sausages as well. This creates a cohesive flavor narrative throughout your dish, making for satisfying flavors in every bite.

You can adjust the amount of seasoning to your preference, of course. Morone's dish only calls for half a teaspoon of Cajun spice mix. While this may seem like a small amount, keep in mind you'll be getting serious flavor from the andouille sausage, onion, and bell pepper blend as well. To balance these intense Cajun flavors, Morone calls for shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise to bring a creamy element to the casserole. She insists that both sour cream and mayonnaise are crucial because they add creaminess and a mildly tangy note to the dish. Just using sour cream would overpower the other flavors of the casserole, according to Morone.