Papet Vaudois: an irresistible Swiss sausage, leek, potato and cream combo

Monsieur Deblue's saucisse au chou

This week I was down in Geneva to sign copies of Cheese: Slices of Swiss Culture at Helen Stubbs’s delightful little shoebox of a bookshop, OffTheShelf, staying overnight with friends in nearby Nyon. While waiting for the train back to Basel, I wandered down the rue de la Gare and found no fewer than three family butchers, all within a few metres of one another.

Considering you practically have to take out a mortgage to buy a piece of meat in Switzerland, this proliferation of boucheries impressed me. Sausages, however, are always sensibly priced, delicious – and frequently home-made. I was delighted to find a heap of the famous Vaudois saucisses au chou – horseshoe-shaped, lightly smoked pork sausages with a suspicion of cabbage – curled up in the window of Deblue, 22 rue de la Gare, just begging to be bought. In I went and got talking to the young butcher. He confirmed that these magnificent sausages, the pride of Canton Vaud and made by his own fair hand, are chief components of one of our absolute fave winter dishes: the delectable, waist-busting combo of leeks, potatoes, cream and sliced sausage that’s known as Papet Vaudois. I instantly invested in a saucisse and jumped back on my train up to Basel. On the menu this cold rainy weekend? You goddit…

Papet vaudois
Serves 2-3 (tho’ I admit we usually polish it off à deux)

500g leeks (3 good-sized ones)
1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 tbsp oil + 25g butter
salt and pepper
6 tbsp dry white wine
6 tbsp chicken stock or ½ stock cube + 150ml water
2 large, firm, waxy potatoes (Rösti-type, not baked potato-type)
300g uncooked, smoked boiling sausage (e.g. saucisse au chou)
3-4 tbsp crème fraîche

  • Trim, wash and slice the leeks thickly
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy pan, add the leeks and onion, season lightly and allow them to soften over gentle heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add the wine and stock, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • Peel and cut the potatoes in good chunks, add them to the pan, cover again and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are barely cooked
  • Prick the sausage in a couple of places and set it on top of the vegetables
  • Lower the heat, cover the pan again and cook gently for about 20 minutes
  • Lift out the sausage and slice it thickly on a slant
  • Stir in the the cream and lay the sausage slices on top of the leeks

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