Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beans and Greens with Sausage

This summer has been the summer of greens and beans, separately and together. I've picked up a bunch of rainbow chard or Swiss chard just about every week at the Tuesday Downtown Farmers' Market, and I've most often been tossing it into a pot of lentils and cooking it down to something between a lentil mash and lentil soup. Season it with a generous squeeze of sriracha and finish it with a splash of vinegar and lemon juice, and you have a fantastic dish.

Another favorite has been kale.

More often than not, in this house, kale ends its days as salty, crunchy kale chips, though I also enjoy a really simple preparation braising it in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. I'd heard people for years rhapsodizing over Tuscan white beans, escarole and sausage, and I thought I could make something similar using kale and a Portuguese spicy sausage like chouriço or linguiça. It's a lot like the Portuguese soup Caldo Verde, though minus the potatoes and not as brothy. The beans break down and release some of the starchiness into the broth, thickening it into a spice-speckled sauce, just begging to be sopped up with a crusty Portuguese roll.

Beans and Greens with Sausage

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. chouriço
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 large bunch of kale, washed and leaves ripped from the central rib (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t granulated garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Slice the chouriço into 1/2 in. rounds, and then cut those into fourths. Saute them in olive oil over medium-high heat until browned, then add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is soft.
  2. Toss in the roasted red bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes, then add the drained beans and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and then toss the kale leaves on top and cover it tightly and let steam for 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir to mix everything well and add 1 cup of the chicken broth and cover tightly and let cook until the kale is well wilted, and the beans are starting to break down and become creamy.
  5. Uncover, add the wine vinegar, granulated garlic, the rest of the cumin and salt and pepper to taste and more broth. Stir well and let cook uncovered another 5 minutes, then mash down some of the beans with the back of your wooden spoon or spatula and serve.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Minted Fava Bean Puree

Fava beans are tricky. Not only do fresh favas need some extra-special care in getting them to the point of edibility - who knew there could be so many layers to a bean - there is also the Hannibal-Lecter factor to consider.

Here you go, get it out of your system:

But fava beans, also known as English beans, broad beans and pigeon beans, are wonderfully creamy with a slighty nutty flavor. They have a firm bite to them when parboiled just right, and yield an amazing buttery texture when made into a puree. Like most legumes, they pack a powerful punch loaded with fiber, and these babies also carry along a goodly amount of iron.

Pick up a couple pounds at your farmers' market, then roll up your sleeves and get ready. First, you need to string the beans and shuck them.  Next, parboil them and then you can remove the waxy coating from the outside. Once you've done that, you get to the center where a creamy, pale green nugget awaits. Trust me, it's worth the wait. Or, for the faint of heart, you could buy them already shucked and shelled in the refrigerated section of the grocery department, but that'll cost you more. If you're not as enamored of the zen-like process of food prep and getting your mise en place  en place as I am, I'd suggest you take the hit to your wallet and opt for the pre-shelled beans.

Favas work wonderfully in salads, pasta dishes and pair uncommonly well with an assertive cheese like pecorino. I'm not kidding - shave a piece of pecorino and stick a bean or two on it and chow down. Repeat at will. It's heaven. Mint is another flavor that seems made for fava beans, and I'd suggest you reach for the fresh mint whenever you can. Pureed together, they create a creamy and satisfying puree that makes a fantastic dip or the perfect spread for crostini.

Minted Fava Bean Puree


  • 8 oz. fava beans, shelled & cooked
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of half a lemon, appr. 1 T
  • 2 T fresh mint
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Puree the fava beans in a food processor until well chopped.
  2. Add the minced garlic, mint leaves and lemon juice and pulse until blended.
  3. Drizzle in olive oil and continue processing until you reach the consistency you prefer. 
  4. Season to taste with sat and pepper.
Related Posts with Thumbnails