From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our day, which began with a bell clear opal sky, had by midmorning lost all sense of which season gravitational rotation intended it to honor. Temperatures plummeted, than came sheets of rain that were followed by a volley of hail that beat the daylights out of any fruits trees that were still in bloom. A dinner of soup and salad, planned while the sun was in ascendance, seemed perfect for a temperate day, but once the hail began to bounce and beat tattoo, it was pretty obvious that menu needed to be revisited. Last month's issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for a sausage and bean stew that sounded delicious. It had the added virtue of being very easy to make and this was a perfect day to give it a try. While I didn't have all the ingredients the recipe call for, I did have workable substitutes and set to work with what I had on hand. I had a wonderful bean stew within 45 minutes as well as a recipe that effortlessly earned a place in my permanent rotation. I hope you will give this dish a try. It is less heavy than a true winter stew but it is substantial and great for cusp days that demand a bit more than standard spring fare. Here is how the stew is made.
Sausage and White Bean Stew...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Bon Appetit magazine
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 pound fresh Italian sausage links
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
5 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
Smoked paprika (optional)
1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.
2) Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in apple cider vinegar. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
3) Slice sausage and fold into stew; add water to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
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