Perfect for a brunch, lunch or dinner, and using very few and basic ingredients, this sweet sausage, fennel bulb and potato bake is an all-in-one meal that is deeply satisfying.
Lately, I’ve been focused on pantry and common, well stocked, usually available everywhere ingredient recipes. This dish came about by what I had on hand and thinking through what would work well together. Fennel and sausage? A natural marriage of flavors. Potato and sausage? You can never go wrong with meat and potatoes. But all three together, roasted for an hour with a crunchy breaded topping? Heaven.
I’m not sure what voodoo is in fennel bulbs, but when roasted along with sausage and potatoes, they leave a haunting flavor like waking up from soul-stirring dream that you can’t quite remember. These are flavors that stay with you and will make you want to go back for seconds.
Sweet Sausage, Fennel Bulb and Potato Bake
- 1 pound (16 ounces) sweet Italian pork sausage (preferably with fennel seeds if you can find it), casings removed
- 2 large waxy potatoes (Yukon, or similar)
- 1 large (or two small) fennel bulb (stalks, fronds and core removed)
- 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup dry or fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C)
- Scrub potatoes well then slice into medallions between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (.6 – .3 cm). If you have a mandolin, this is a great time to use it.
- Slice fennel bulb into medallions between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (.6 – .3 cm). If you have a mandolin, this is a great time to use it. 😉
- In an 8- or 9-inch (21-23cm) baking dish, using half of the potatoes, create an overlapping layer of potato medallions, followed by half of the fennel medallions (or pieces if they broke). Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper
- Remove casings from sausage. By hand, break sausage into small pieces and distribute half of it over the fennel and potato layer
- Repeat step 4 layering the rest of the potatoes, fennel and remaining salt and pepper. Gently press down the second layer. Repeat step 5, using the rest of the sausage
- Evenly pour the broth and milk over the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes
- After 40 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven, and discard the foil. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the baking dish and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes, uncovered
- Remove the baking dish from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a slotted spoon. (There will be broth at the bottom of the dish, which should be left behind when serving. The broth was needed to steam and give flavor to the vegetables.)