I made three dishes for Thanksgiving:
- pozole – a decent success
- quince, pear, and cranberry chutney – a great success
- blood sausage, apple, and potato gratin – a miserable failure
I guess 2/3 is still pretty good. But I will NOT be buying this blood sausage again.
The inspiration was one of the best dishes I have ever eaten, at Le Felteu, a little restaurant in a small street in the Marais in Paris. Of course, that’s hard to live up to. But, I had extended conversations with my parents and Tom and Raymond, and I had a pretty good method worked out.
First, I cooked the potatoes, cut into thin rounds, in milk and nutmeg, until almost cooked. In a separate pan, I then briefly – because they softened REALLY fast – slices of apples. I used one granny smith and one winesap, because I’m kind of crazy about winesaps this season. I have no idea what they’d use in France, to be honest, but these apples got mushy really really quickly and I wanted them to hold together. So next time, I think I’ll almost sear them, because I want a little caramelization, but they’ll get plenty soft when they bake later in the process. I sauteed the blood sausage, also separately, because wanted to crisp it up a little before baking, but this sausage was so awful I’m not even going to get into this process.
Paul and I trekked to Cori and Colin’s at this point, but I’m also pretty confident this is something you should just do from start to finish and serve right away. When we got to the site of the feast, I put the sausage (without the casing) and apples in the bottom of the dish, layered the potatoes over top, and added heavy cream and a little more nutmeg. I then stuck it in the oven and baked it until brown. Temperature? No clue. Sorry.
The taste of the potatoes and apples would have been fine had they not been infused with the odor of the blood sausage, which was so wrong it honestly made me lose my appetite. Obviously, that will have to change next time – this blood sausage smelled a bit rancid, it was too much purple in color and not enough red, and it looked like it had some sort of grain in it, which is not like the French boudin noir I love so much. Another thing I’ll change for next time is to add some cheese to thicken the gratin (with the cream it’s baked in) and a little butter to crisp and brown the top a little. It’s a beautiful winter dish, so if I can find some more blood sausage I’ll definitely try this again.