As our days are now officially shorter and the cooler weather is settling in, it's the perfect time to introduce a weekly soup or stew into your dinner rotation. Beans, kale and sausage are a classic trio in Mediterranean fare, and make a super healthy, well rounded meal. This recipe calls for turkey sausage, which is lower in fat, but you can splurge with sweet italian or spicy sausage if your heart desires! Canned beans are perfectly fine, but can be a bit soft, so if you have the time, try starting with dried beans for a more firm texture. Here, the main ingredients are pulled together with a hint of tomato and the earthy flavors from fresh thyme and rosemary. The finishing touches of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano cheese bring balance and added mouth feel to make a very satisfying dish!
4 TB olive oil, divided
½ pound turkey sausage, meat removed from casings and rough chopped
1 TB tomato paste
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups vegetable stock (preferably no salt) or water
2 cups cooked white beans (try Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy)
½ - 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste (depends on salt content of stock)
2 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped kale, stems removed and thinly sliced into ribbons
For serving: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmigiano cheese
Heat 2 TB olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Wipe out pot, add 2 TB olive oil, and when hot, add the tomato paste, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of stock or water, and let the liquid reduce by half, scraping up the tiny sucs that are stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon. Then add the remaining stock or water, beans, salt, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and red pepper flakes, if using. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Then add the kale and sausage to the pot, stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the kale wilts and the stew is completely heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grated Parmigiano cheese, if desired. Makes 8 cups.
In a pinch, use precooked sausage - just slice into ½ inch pieces and cook according to recipe.
To deglaze means to add liquid, such as stock or wine, to a pan to loosen and dissolve the little brown bits (called sucs) that are stuck to the bottom. The flavorful mixture produced by deglazing (called fond) can then be used to build flavor for a sauce, soup or stew.