1.30.2013

White Bean and Sausage Stew

I love food magazines. Such promise on those covers. Until reality bites, reminding me that my cooking resume reads like Keanu Reeves' movie list. Terrible then not so bad to pretty good to how did he pull off that role so well to ugh not again.

Recipes in Bon Appetit stump me the most. If I follow directions exactly there's about a 50/50 shot at tastiness. But when I read the recipe closely and interject with, dare I say, "experience" results improve. So frustrating, right? The only way to get better at anything is to do it more but if you hate it then avoid it (taking out, cold cereal, canned soup) the cycle continues.

Lucky for you this blog is not so gourmet you want to scream "What's escarole?!!!" (which I will tell you anyway, not that you can't google it yourself but so much easier to one-stop shop) nor are the recipes prison-esque or dorm-like.

This Bon Appetit dish was easy for me and would be easy for lost souls if more instructions were provided. Not their target audience but it is mine. So here ya go.

This meal rocks.

Chorizo and White Bean Stew adapted from Bon Appetit

A one skillet wonder they call this. Don't let the word "stew" scare you as it would have me back in olden times. The original recipe calls for Italian sausage or Mexican chorizo that is "fresh" (also known as "raw" therefore scary to cooking phobics). I used precooked turkey andouille sausage.

In your largest skillet pour:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat on medium until hot (shimmering not smoking, watch closely) and add:

Brown (cook) 5 or so minutes on each side. Turn off the heat but leave the pan (take the cannoli). Transfer sausage to cutting board and slice into 1-2 inch half moons. Set aside.

Back to the skillet. Turn heat to medium and add:
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

When it's hot add:
  • One large onion, thinly sliced (cut against the lines so you get rings)
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped NOT minced, pieces about the size of apple seeds
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme (branch=sprig) or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Cook stirring occasionally until onion is softened 5-8 minutes. Pay attention. You want them to loosen up, take on a wormy look. Once onions start browning call it quits before they carmelize.

Add:
  • 2, 15 oz. cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed. I like Isola brand, some others are too mushy and often tasteless and no I do not soak my own beans.
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Crush a few beans (10? 12? you decide) with a fork to thicken the sauce and cook about 8 more minutes.

Season with:
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Add:
  • About 5 oz. baby spinach (10 cups-ish) or regular spinach roughly chopped (pile the washed leaves on a cutting board and give them a couple good whacks)

Stir just enough to incorporate. Now remember that sausage sitting on the counter? As Husband Todd would say, "Send it!" as in, add the meat to the pan, stir and serve.