Sausage, kale, beans

February 22, 2010

I know that title reads like one of those non-descriptive menu entries some chefs seem to be so fond of at the moment, but really, it pretty much is just sausage, kale, and beans. OK, a bit of chicken stock, a handful of herbs maybe, but that’s it. It will give you a sense of deep and satisfying frugality, particularly if you dug the sausages and stock out of the freezer, and the beans were hand-me-downs from Tom’s sister, who can’t get her husband to like them. Just so you know, I will happily give any unwanted beans a home. I like to think this is exactly what they would have wanted, all cosy and warm, nestled into the kale fronds.

I made quite a few changes to the original recipe, not because I thought I was improving it, but because I didn’t read it very carefully before I did my shopping. The beans should be flageolet, which are certainly among the prettiest of the beans, but I used one tin of pinto and one of borlotti (when tinned they’re almost indistinguishable from each other anyway).

I also used sage instead of rosemary, and I left out the cream. Then I felt like it was missing a certain something so I added a bit of parmesan. Cream would probably have been better, but it’s still one of the best ways I can think of of eating up your kale (‘the new blueberry’, according to Leon).

Finally, a warning: this supper may induce a soporific effect. That was clearly why I fell asleep during Synecdoche, New York and missed the ending. Certainly not because I couldn’t understand it and was bored, at all.

Sausage, kale, beans  Serves 3-4

1 packet sausages (should be 6, we had one missing, consumed in fry-up)
2 tins whichever beans your cupboard yields (or 200g dried beans, soaked and cooked)
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
800ml chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp chopped rosemary (or sage)
small handful parsley, chopped
200g kale, chopped and any large stalks removed
75ml cream
parmesan for grating (optional)
salt and pepper

Slice the sausages into manageable chunks, about 4 to a sausage. Fry them in the olive oil until nicely browned.

Add the garlic and sage/rosemary, stir, and then turn down the heat and add the onion. Cook over a low heat with the lid on for about 15 minutes, until all is soft and tender. Add in the chicken stock, season and bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, with the lid on.

Add the kale (and cream, if using) and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on and a further 10 with the lid off. Check the seasoning and serve sprinkled with parsley, and parmesan if you like.

Adapted from Allegra McEvedy’s ‘Leon’.


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