ozark-style sausage and white bean stew

blogs make a great smokescreen for the true sloth within. here, I am domestic goddess. I "plate." I garnish. I think through things in advance. I absolutely am not on a first name basis with the napoli-style pizza place and totally don't pick up carryout pho once a week bc I'm too tired for life. :|

but there actual times when I do get home at like, 8pm, don't have any ideas, didn't think far enough ahead to grubhub something from the car, and am not especially enthusiastic about any "project" meals. in these moments, I revert to the basic template behind most #healthyenough dishes, and try to get a different answer from the same math: meat + fiber source + vegetables + spices. it's my personal definition of peasant food: discovered it when broke af out of college, barely surviving, and all these ingredients were cheap.

over the years I've made like 1 mil iterations of this stew, usually in the same circumstances, almost all featuring sausages and beans and some kind of green. there are spicy italian-inspired versions, light and very un-soupy versions with poached eggs, versions with a tomato broth base, spanish chorizo interpretations and cajun andouille experiments and one I think that featured bacon? this particular one only came to be because I found an unused bottle of Penzey's ozark seasoning in the less-essential of my two spice drawers, wanted to figure out what it was good for, and it turned out to be very good for this. 

according to the internet, this ozark seasoning is: salt, pepper, sage, garlic, thyme, paprika, mustard, ancho, celery, cayenne, dill weed, dill seed, caraway, allspice, ginger, cardamom, bay leaves, mace, china cinnamon, savory, and clove. good luck with that. 

but what makes it "ozark" is simple enough, and is all you need if you're in the 99% of america that doesn't own this particular spice blend — and that's sage, paprika, dill weed, and ancho. doable!

this made me very happy on its own (and makes great leftovers if you want to make a double batch; the recipe below makes dinner for 2 or dinner/lunch for 1), but baguette to dip in the remnants wouldn't hurt it or you.

credits: this recipe "template" was inspired years ago by The Gouda Life, who adapted it from another version at Bon Appetit. circle of life, y'all. everything is derivative. 

ozark-style sausage and white bean stew | italian enough

RECIPE

Effortful time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2

YOU NEED

  • 2 large links (6-8oz) of hot Italian chicken sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 14-oz container cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 big handfuls of tuscan lacinato kale, de-ribbed, chopped or shredded
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or bone broth
  • 1/8 tsp. sage
  • 1/8 tsp. dill weed
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • dash of ancho chile (can sub cayenne)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

MAKE IT

  1. Heat the broiler on low and line a small oven-safe pan with foil (I used my toaster oven for this). Pierce the sausage casings with a fork and lightly rub in the bare minimum olive oil. Lay on the foil and broil, 20-25 minutes, turning once. 

  2. While the sausages cook, melt the butter over medium heat and add the shallots and celery. Cook until the shallot is soft, then add the sliced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the handfuls of kale and a bit of broth so that the kale wilts, stirring it into itself as you go to make space. Add seasonings and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.

  3. Once kale is wilted, add the cannellini beans and remaining broth. Simmer until the sausages are done in the oven, about 25 minutes of total time on heat. You can open a bottle of wine now. 

  4. When the chicken sausages are deeply caramelized and cooked through, remove to a board to rest. Stir the lemon juice into the soup and test for seasonings (you most likely need more salt; beans have a way of sucking it out).

  5. Slice the sausages and ladle stew into bowls. Each bowl should have 4-5 sausage chunks. You can cut them smaller than I did if you're weird about cutting in bowls which I discovered a lot of people (surprisingly?) are. Sop the broth up with bread if you're so inclined.

  6. Pairing: this isn't outright spicy or smoky, exactly, but kind of... earthy and herby and almost fried-chicken-like? it would be good with a slightly fizzy lager, or with a very dry sauvignon blanc if you just can't not have wine.