I have a terrible tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be.
When I was a kid, my mother would buy these lovely sausage and veggie stuffed baguettes from a local bakery to slice and serve as a dinner party hors d’oeuvre. I adored the crusty outsides and rich, meaty interior. Mom learned to buy an extra loaf just for me and my brother. I’ve been wanting to recreate them for ages, but the whole processes seemed, frankly, like a pain in the butt. I’d have to make bread dough, then stuff, form and bake while hoping that the whole thing wouldn’t explode. So I never did it.
But, of course, I was making the whole process so much more complicated than it needed to be. Yes, the real deal would involve a lovely yeasty french bread dough and a whole lot of effort. But the slap-dash version turns out to be pretty darn delicious! A good store-bought baguette, some pre-cooked sausage, and a bit of aluminum foil, and you have a wonderful stuffed bread.
I used chicken apple sausage, peppers, and gouda. But you could certainly play around with the flavors. I think that a sweet Italian sausage and some chopped broccoli would be lovely with provolone. Really, you can’t go wrong with sausage, bread and cheese, can you?
Sausage Stuffed Bread
Serves 8-10 as a starter
1 plump french baguette
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 links (about 6 ounces) pre-cooked chicken apple sausage, chopped
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup store-bought garlic herb cheese spread
3 ounces gouda cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice into the baguette lengthwise, but do not slice all the way through – as if you’re making a very long sandwich. Carefully dig out as much of the soft interior of the bread as you can, while leaving a solid exterior to encase the filling without collapsing. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, pepper, onion, and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Let the sausage mixture cool slightly. Meanwhile, spread the garlic-herb cheese over the interior of the bread. Lay the gouda evenly in the interior of the bread. Carefully spoon the sausage mixture into the bread cavity, as evenly as possible. Wrap the bread in foil and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the bread is warm. Cool slightly and then unwrap and slice to serve.