Fleur de Lis

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Rustic Autumn Stew




Autumn is in full force here in North Alabama. We're in the season of using heat in the cars on the way to work, rolling the windows down or using the air conditioning at lunch time and then cranking up the heat again when the sun goes down. It's my favorite time of the year.

The picture above is the stew barely simmering away in the 5 quart LeCreuset Dutch Oven. I let it cool for a bit and then into the fridge for overnight flavor melding. Tonight, it will be gently warmed and enjoyed at suppertime.

1 lb. bag of small white beans
6 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 sweet banana pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
1 pound smoked sausage, diced and browned
4 - 6 cups kale torn into bite sized pieces

Rinse and sort through the beans and remove any with blemishes. Cover with water and soak for a few hours or overnight. Drain the water.  

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, add beans and beef stock, bring to a gentle boil and add bay leaf. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Remove from heat and add tomatoes and remove bay leaf.

Using an immersion blender or a potato masher, blend about half the beans and tomatoes to thicken the stew.

In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions, carrot and peppers. Lightly salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Then add garlic and let cook for a minute or two more. Add to the beans and tomatoes.  

Next add the sausage to skillet. Let cook until the sausage pieces are nicely browned. Drain any fat that renders from the sausage. Add the sausage pieces to the stew and return the Dutch oven to very low heat. Bring to a simmer and add kale. You can add more stock if needed, but I prefer this one to be a really thick stew consistency.  

Let cook for another hour or so to blend the flavors.  

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