Sausage & White Bean Stew

September 17, 2013

If you’re ever looking for an intensely hearty and simple meal, this is it. It only has a handful of ingredients, most of which are pantry and fridge staples, so it could be made in a pinch. The recipe I originated this from used chorizo instead of Italian sausage, and while I think that would be good, this was near perfection. Admittedly, this is more of a cold-weather dish, so feel free to put it in your back pocket for cooler days. Or enjoy it now with the A/C blasting and a cozy cardigan pulled over your shoulders…it’s never too early to pretend it’s Fall.

Sausage & White Bean Stew { serves 4 }

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. Italian Sausage (I used medium for a little kick)
1 large onion, sliced into thin rounds
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2, 15 oz cans white kidney beans (also called cannellini beans)
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 bag baby spinach (8-10 cups)
smoked paprika*

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, and cook sausages until browned and thoroughly cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan, and place on a plate for later. In the same skillet, heat another Tbsp of oil and add onion, garlic and thyme. Cook until onions are softened and slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth to the onions, and stir thoroughly. Feel free to smash some of the beans with the back of your spoon to thicken the broth slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add spinach in several handfuls, stirring well after each addition. Cook until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Slice the sausage into rounds, and gently add to the broth, stirring well. Allow all ingredients to cook together for another 5-8 minutes. Serve soup in bowls, drizzled with remaining olive oil, and sprinkled with smoked paprika. This stew is just begging to be sopped up with some crusty, warm sourdough bread.

*Smoked paprika is an optional ingredient, but it so pleasantly affected the flavor of the stew, I would suggest going out of your way to make sure it’s included.

{ sorry about the poor photography…it was late and dark, but hopefully you get the idea! }

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