November 13, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Sausage Upside-Down Pie


I've been wanting to make this recipe for a while because Sausage Upside Down Pie is not a recipe I've ever heard of. (I don't google recipes before I make them because if they already exist on the internet--highly likely--I don't want to know that. These recipes are OLD--much older than the internet--so it's fun to think of them as being unique.)

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society via James Lezotte's Groceries & Meats Meat Recipe book, noted to be from 1948-1949, submitted by Jeanne Drouillard. I really wanted to find some information about James Lezotte's Groceries & Meats--I'd never heard of it and I couldn't find anything about it. I searched and searched (for a few hours) and I found a few men named James Lezotte from that area, but I don't know which one is him. And I didn't find anything at all about about the recipe book. It is noted that the featured recipe in the book was called "The Stew of Distinction".

There are several recipes from that cookbook in this heritage recipe book, so I may be making more of them in the future. This one for Sausage Upside-Down Pie was DELICIOUS. I think the flavor depends a lot on the type of sausage you use. It doesn't specify the sausage other than "pork sausage"; I used hot pork sausage because we like spicy food.

Jerry and I both loved this (my kids don't like sausage, so they weren't into it). It was kind of fun making the layers and then getting to turn it over onto a platter when it was done (or, in my case, a tart dish, which is what I had).

Because this is called a "Pie", I made it in a pie pan. It was the perfect size!

As always, my rule for making the heritage recipes is that I cannot substitute or modify ingredients--I make the dish exactly as specified, and when it's unclear, I interpret it the best I can. The "printer-friendly" version is rewritten with my clarifications after making the recipe. On this post, I've written it out exactly as it is printed in the heritage cookbook. See my notes after the recipe for clarifications.

Definitely not very pretty... but sometimes the best foods just don't look very good!


Here is a printer-friendly version!

Sausage Upside-Down Pie

1 lb. bulk pork sausage
2 T. water
2 med. onions, sliced
1 can tomato soup
2 c. biscuit mix
1/2 to 2/3 c. milk

Shape sausage into patties and place in frying pan. Add water, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove cover and allow water to evaporate and sausage to brown. Place sausage in casserole. Brown onion rings in sausage drippings. Arrange onions on meat. Cover with tomato soup. Add enough milk to biscuit mix to make a soft dough. Roll it to fit casserole and place on top of meat mixture. Bake in moderately hot oven (400 F) for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn out on platter and serve. 6 servings.


My Notes:

Like I said, I just chose hot pork sausage. It was a delicious choice!

I assumed the tomato soup was condensed tomato soup from a can. I just used Campbell's, which has been around since 1897--that really surprised me! I assumed it would have been from the 1950's for some reason.

I assumed the biscuit mix referred to Jiffy brand baking mix, which has been around since the 1930's (and originated in Michigan!).

I ended up using 1/2 cup milk to get the soft dough. Keep in mind that it needs to be rolled out, so you don't want a sticky dough. Mine seemed really dry at first, but once I stirred it well, it was a good consistency. It was very soft like bread dough; not stretchy like pizza dough or crumbly like pie crust.

When I cooked the onions, I wasn't sure how long to cook them--to totally caramelize them or just get them soft? I did somewhere in-between. They were soft, but still had some texture and weren't totally browned. I could have eaten a whole bowl of the onions themselves--they were spicy from the sausage drippings and sweet from the slight caramelization.

caramelized onions

Baking time was perfect--I baked mine for 19 minutes.

I was surprised just how easy it was to flip the whole thing over after it baked. I don't know if it was because of a new-ish non-stick pie pan, but I didn't have to fight with the dough to loosen from the sides. I placed the tart dish over the top of the pie plate and quickly flipped the whole thing over. A little tomato soup spilled over the side, but it was no big deal.

It smelled delicious! (As far as looks, well... I'm not a food photographer!) It was a little difficult to cut evenly because of the sausage patties. I think next time, I will arrange the patties so they fit neatly into where I could make cuts. Or perhaps just crumble the meat while I brown it rather than form patties (actually, that would be a great idea).

The biscuit later was pretty thick--I loved it like that, but if you're not so much into biscuits, you might want to use 1-1/2 cups of mix instead of 2 cups. I rolled mine out a little too big and had to smush it into the pan a bit.

Overall, this recipe was a winner! I wish I knew more about Jame's Lezotte's Groceries & Meats. I'll definitely make more of his recipes, though.


  1. I think it looks delish.

  2. Looks yummy! I like your idea of crumbling the sausage while browning it to make it easier to slice.

  3. I think this is the first heritage recipe that I would try -- using vegetarian sausage....I think it could be great - I will let you know!


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