I just spent three days in God’s country … acres and acres of potato fields, hills as far as you can see, and a picture-postcard landscape dotted with farmhouses, barns, enormous tractors, and storage sheds.
This, my friends, is the ‘County.’ Aroostook County. The land of potatoes and roots, wheat, barley and oats, free-range chickens and grass-fed beef. The “bread-basket” of the Northeast during the Civil War era, this is the land that has the capacity to feed the New England food shed.
My father’s family hails from the County, and like every good Maine family, we love our potatoes. During the fall and winter months, we enjoy potatoes every day. Roasted, baked, boiled, fried, even grilled. Potatoes (and apples) are the “regulator food group,” according to a 1942 Cooperative Extension 4-H bulletin. The handout recommended two to four servings of potatoes per day (to keep the body “regular”).
One recipe we enjoy is Chicken Sausage and Potato Salad. I love a good potato salad, and this one makes the perfect supper. Rose-gold is a potato variety that is a perfect size, and has a nice “rosy” glow. Yukon gold is good too.
The cooked potatoes are mixed with an assertive green like arugula, watercress or spinach, and rings of cooked chicken sausage. The dressing is a nice rich mustard, maple and cider marinade.
Serve Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad with a crusty whole-grain bread. To maintain regularity, add some apples and cheese, and complete the repast with a glass of beer! C’est bon!
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected].
Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad
Makes four servings
1 pound Maine potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups arugula (about 5 oz.)
12 oz. chicken sausage
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Scrub the potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook in a small amount of water until they are just fork tender. Drain and add them to a large bowl. Add the arugula and cover to keep warm.
In a medium sauté pan, cook the chicken sausage until the outside is brown. Slice the sausage into coin-sized slices and cook until done. Remove from pan and add to the potatoes and arugula.
To prepare the dressing, deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Whisk in the maple syrup, mustard and olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 249 calories, 20 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat (0 grams trans fat), 692 mg. sodium, 2.2 grams fiber.
Chef Cheryl’s notes: Rose-Gold potatoes are the perfect size for this salad, and add a nice rosy glow. Arugula is an assertive salad green that is a great source of iron and vitamins A and C. If you can’t find it in the markets, try spinach or watercress.
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