Saturday, September 10, 2016

Beans and Greens with Optional Sausage

This low carb comfort dish is great if you have vegetarians in the house, and if you have carnivores you can add the optional sausage. In fact, it's easy to split the ingredients and add the sausage at the end if you have both types in your home. Whichever dish they choose, they will find a flavorful nutritious meal. I like to serve it with crusty toasted bread to deep in the flavorful sauce.

Julian's Beans and Greens with Sausage
If you are using the sausage then I prefer Polish kielbasa. But any good turkey or chicken sausage will work great too. I just figure I could have the vegetarian version, but if I'm going to live dangerously and have the meat, I might as well have the kielbasa. It tastes yummy!

In this recipe I'm using canned beans, because I happen to have them in the house. I rarely buy canned beans, but since they are here I will use them in this dish. Normally I would use dry beans. If you want to use dry white beans, they must be soaked first. To do this place the beans in a stock pot dry. Bring a tea kettle or pot of water to boil and pour over the beans. Put the lid on and soak them over night. In the morning, rinse the beans and they will be ready for use when you need them.

Also please note that the recipe is not fussy. You can use more or less of anything here and it will still be a delicious dinner, which for some reason I love to make and serve on a damp or cool evening. I didn't have carrots on hand today, so I tossed in some chopped green and red pepper. I also had some leftover mushrooms, so those went in too.

3/4 to 1 pound sausage (optional)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup white white or dry sherry (optional)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups Cannellini or other white beans, canned
1 large tomato diced (substitute one can)
1 small bunch of spinach leaves or kale (stems removed)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the sausage into bite sized or slightly larger pieces. Place a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the sausage and brown slightly on all sides. Add the onion and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot as the onions cook, 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir to combine for another minute. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to combine. Cook another minute stirring regularly. Add the white wine and simmer for 2 minutes scraping up any items stuck to the pot.

Add the stock to the pot and stir to combine. Place on medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the oregano, beans and tomatoes and stir. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 30-60 minutes uncovered. Taste to ensure the beans are cooked to your preferred tenderness. Once beans are tender and the flavors will combined, add in the spinach or kale and stir in. Cook just until the leaves are wilted, another 2-4 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.

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