Braised Italian sausage with beans and kale
Braising is a technique that I can’t write enough great things about. For most proteins, it yields a tender and moist product and also allows for some opportunities for some depth of flavor to be developed.
For this dish, I gathered a nice bunch of organic kale from the farmers market, about a pound of my homemade Italian sausage (slightly mangled from storage in the refrigerator), and a can of kidney beans. To aid in braising, I used some beef stock (yeah, I buy boxed stuff).
I heated a skillet with some good olive oil and a few garlic cloves to toast the garlic lightly. I added the sausage to the pan and allowed them to brown on the first side.
After flipping all of the sausages and waiting a minute, I added the drained and rinsed beans, enough liquid to come up about half way on the sausages, the kale which had been torn into matchbook-sized pieces, and some salt and pepper.
I cooked this covered on medium-low for about 10 minutes and then removed the cover and stirred the kale into the liquid. After another 7 or 8 minutes on medium-low, the dish was ready. To make it easy to distribute, I removed the sausage links and cut them on the diagonal in about 1 centimeter thick pieces, then stirred them into the mixture.
The end product was a hearty and delicious protein and vitamin packed meal. The above ratio made enough for 3 derryX weekday high energy diet portions, but, if I were going to serve it to someone else, this would be two portions, and they would be very full after.
After cooking, all of the flavors start to meld and the richness of the spices from the sausages becomes very deep. The flavor from the anise seed dulls out into the broth and provides am outstanding fragrance while the dry chile pepper in the sausage also releases a mild heat into the broth. These spices penetrate the beans and the kale.
It’s really a great dish. I imagine it could work with many varieties of sausage, beans, and greens.