Wednesday, September 19, 2012

White Bean and Chicken Sausage Ragout with Tomatoes, Kale, and Zucchini

I am sure some of you are wondering what the heck Ragout is.  Ragout is a French term that refers to a main-dish stew. Now that you know what it means, it isn't so threatening, is it?

Today I went to Bedner's Farm Fresh Farmers Market and picked up a TON of fresh fruits and veggies.  I am honestly kicking myself for not going there sooner! Going to a farmers market was one of the things on my "30 Before 30" checklist and now that I have gone, I will no longer buy my bulk produce from the grocery store!  If you don't already, I suggest you start shopping at your local farmers market! 

Ok, back to cooking!  You are going to love this stew! It is really simple to put together and the flavors are just amazing! For all my vegetarian friends, this is very easily vegetarian modifiable by leaving out the chicken and adding more kale and zucchini, if desired.  
White Bean and Chicken Sausage Ragout with Tomatoes, Kale, and Zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2-4 hot Italian chicken sausages, cut into 1/2-inch slices*
1 large zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 cups chopped trimmed kale (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
1 teaspoon paprika
*you can use mild medium or hot chicken sausages based on your preference.  Keep in mind the sausages are seasoned, therefore taste as you add when it comes to adding salt later in the recipe.  It is easier to add salt than it is to take it out.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. 

While the oil is heating, chop your onion.

SautĂ© the onion and chicken sausage for about 4 minutes or until sausage pieces are nice and browned.  

TIP: I allow the sausage links to brown up before I cut them into 1/2 inch slices.  If you try to do this while they are raw, the pieces do not stay together as well and the insides will come out of the casing.  

Cut the zucchini and crush the garlic.  Reminder - the smaller you cut the garlic, the stronger the flavor will be.  Therefore, for this dish just smash the garlic cloves and chop them coarsely.    

Add the zucchini slices and the garlic to the pot and cook an additional 2 minutes. 

Rinse and chop the kale making sure to remove the large center vein of the kale, that part is not edible. 
Next, add the chicken broth, kale and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.  Note, there is minimal liquid at this point - that is okay!
Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the stew to cook for 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and the kale has broken down. 
 Stir the stew and serve hot with biscuits for dipping. 

Listening to: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Choke 
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