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Hale and hearty: Sausage, kale, and white-bean stew

5 Nov










I’m going to be straight with you.  Of all the soups/stews I’ve made, this is probably my favorite.  It’s been one of my go-to Fall comfort meals since I first tried the recipe several years ago.  It’s a mix of fresh and canned ingredients, and while in general I try to stick to fresh, part of the reason this recipe is a winner is that it is so simple and quick to put together.

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It’s also fun to experiment with adding different ingredients and proportions.  For example, this time around I added a cubed beet (that’s why the color of the broth in these photos is so concentrated, without the beet your broth will be more clear).  This addition didn’t make it to the recipe since the flavor doesn’t really improve on anything (but if you don’t mind, hey, why not add a few more vitamins and minerals).  Now let’s get on with it.

Sausage, kale, and white-bean stew

Adapted from this Food & Wine recipe.

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound hot sausages, casings removed (turkey sausage works well as a lower fat option)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound kale, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and shredded (I usually just use a whole bunch as it’s sold to me, or about half a large bag of pre-cut kale)
3 1/3 cups canned diced tomatoes with their juice (two 15-ounce cans)
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 cups drained and rinsed canned cannellini beans (two 19-ounce cans), or equivalent quantity of other white beans (I like a mix of cannellini and butter beans)


In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a fork, until the it loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan (if needed, but sometimes the remaining oil is sufficient) and then stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add crated carrots and stir.

Add the garlic and kale to the pot and cook, stirring, until the kale wilts, about 2 minutes (the amount of kale will look overwhelming at first, but it definitely wilts down significantly when cooking). Stir in the tomatoes (with juices), and pepper; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the kale is tender, about 15 minutes.  Sometimes I add an extra can-full of water and simmer a little longer (for example if I’ve used even more kale and it needs more moisture).

Stir the beans into the stew and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. If you like, mash some of the beans with a fork to thicken the sauce.  Eat and enjoy!  This stew also freezes pretty well, so I recommend saving some for a rainy day.

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