Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale

Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale

I did some baking during the holidays, but not much. Some of my favorite items were Pains D'Amande and Bill Granger's Pear Cake with Vanilla Custard (made with apples instead).

Now that the holiday season is over and the weather is less than optimal, i'm in the mood for soup. I've started to cooking huge pots of soup on Sundays. I'll divvy the soup into tupperwares for work and freeze the extra for weeks when i'm too tired to cook (which are often at the moment).

I used this recipe as an opportunity to (finally) buy some sausage from the Parma Sausage Company. It had great flavor, though it made the soup a little rich and I might use less next time. You can buy loose sausage in relatively inexpensive 1.5lb packages. I've made the vegetarian version of this soup as well, which is flavored with extra herbs and porcini mushrooms instead of meat.

I should start baking more once I settle back into work. I've been reading lots of recipes for slice and bake cookies, and i'm looking for an excuse to use the 40% butterfat, not "ultra-pasteurized" Turner's cream from Whole Foods. Too bad I sold the ice cream maker...

Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Cabbage
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Table salt
1 pound dried cannellini beans (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 medium head savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used kale)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh oregano leaves
Ground black pepper

1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and sausage in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon until it loses its raw color, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate and place in refrigerator. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens, sausage, and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

4. Remove pot from oven and submerge oregano sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and oregano sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew.


Snooky doodle said...

Nice! I love parma sausage too. It gives great taste :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds hearty and satisfying.

tsippor said...

Hey Lisa,

I made this two nights ago for some friends. It was only like 10 degrees outside, here in Boston... and this soup was the perfect meal.