As a kid, I loved spicy, super-garlicy sausages. So did all of my family. Then, I married a man who did not really care for sausages. Sometimes I have a craving but all the beef sausages I find are stuffed in natural hog casing. So from time to time, I'd make my own beef sausages, stuff them in sheep casing (!!!) or I just wrap them in plastic then freeze them to keep their shape when cooking. They never were quite as good as the ones I had as a child. My son never liked beef sausages specially my homemade version.
One day, FoodBuzz Tastemakers Program sent me a Party Planner Gift Box to try out. It was a Home for the Holiday Gift Box from Hickory Farms. It had beef summer sausages, cheeses, honey pineapple mustard and cracked wheat crackers. Hickory Farms has been making gourmet beef sausages and cheeses since 1951 and this time of the year they offer gift boxes at very reasonable prices. Right now they are 50% off.
Last night, he had friends over and they wanted baked potatoes but I did not have sour cream, green onions and cheese. Instead of heading to the store, I made a garlic herb butter and hasselback potatoes with slices of beef sausage in between. Guess what? It was a big hit with the boys! Better than baked potatoes is what I heard. Even my son said the beef sausage was crazy delicious!
Jazzed up Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic Herb Butter
2 lbs baking potatoes
2 sticks of salted butter, softened at room temperature
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced
lots of finely minced parsley
3 mm round slices of Hickory Farms beef sausage, cut in half
To prepare the garlic herb butter, mix softened salted butter, fresh minced garlic and parsely in a small bowl. Stir well until garlic and parsely is well distributed. Take plastic wrap and shape the garlic herb butter into a log. Place in the freezer to solidify. If you are on a low salt diet, go ahead and use unsalted butter.
Scrub the potatoes with a vegetable brush and rinse well to remove any adhering soil particles. Do not peel the potatoes. Boil the potatoes and when they are half cooked, drain the water and lay them on their flat side. Starting from one end of the potato, cut across almost all the way through, at 2-3 mm intervals. The potatoes should now look like an open accordion.
Insert slices of garlic herb butter and/ or half discs of beef sausage into the cuts. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy outside. The inside will be soft and buttery. When serving up, top with more garlic herb butter.
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