Herbed White Bean and Italian Sausage Stew
We’ve taken a N.Y. Times recipe, tweaked it to our liking and come up with a stew that is definitely a keeper.
We’ve added a few chopped sweet peppers to the stew from our stash of our frozen 2021 peppers. They add sweetness and color plus we’re just crazy about peppers. We didn’t have thyme on hand so we just used Rosemary and it was fantastic. The original recipe did not include a chopped green, but that is one of our favorite ways to finish a soup. You can use most any chopped green you have on hand.
Finally, you could make the stew by using 1 lb. BBF bulk Italian sausage instead of links. Skip the first step of cooking the sausage. Instead, make tender pork dumplings by adding teaspoon size pieces of sausage to the stew after the greens are cooked. The raw sausage will easily cook very quickly – no need to precook the sausage. Just simmer gently for a few minutes and then serve.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 pkg BBF Italian sausage links, use 4 sausages, sliced into ¾” pieces
2 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 lg onion, chopped
2 sweet peppers, any color, chopped or use frozen chopped peppers
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried great Northern or navy beans
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 c finely chopped greens – cabbage, Napa cabbage, kale, spinach, etc.
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark golden, about 1 minute. Immediately, add the carrots, celery, onion, peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low simmering gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. Add more water, if needed, to make sure the beans remain submerged.
When beans are tender, add chopped greens of your choice and cook until tender. Return the sausage to the pot. Stir in the vinegar and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve drizzled with more vinegar and olive oil, if desired.