Cool-weather one-dish meals
Come cool (or cold weather) I’m ready for hearty, warming food (healthy and simple is fine too). One of my favorites because it will reheat well if there are leftovers, it’s easily modified if there are second runs, there’s nothing fixed about the quantity, and there are SO many variations with seasonal ingredients is a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s The Short-cut Cook for a stew of sausage, greens and beans. It can be made from ingredients found in your supermarket (Harris Teeter, in my case).
This serves six, but it’s easily halved and it’s freezer-friendly for later use. I’m reproducing and adapting the basic recipe here for you:
Sausage Stew with Mustard Greens and Beans (p. 178)
- 1-1/4 pounds of hot Italian sausage
- 2 onions (about 8 ounces total) peeled and quartered.
- 2 cans (1 pound each) red kidney beans
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped mustard greens
- Divide the sausage meat and form into balls with your hands (dampened).
- In a heavy pot, over medium-to-low heat, cook the meatballs for about so minutes covered, turning about every 5 minutes, until they begin to brown.
- Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the beans (with their liquid), the jalapeño pepper, the cumin.
- Bring to a boil and cook gently for about 10 minutes.
- add the mustard greens, allowing them to thaw in the hot liquid for a few minutes and then break them up.
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes longer (or for a total of 50 minutes)
Now, how many variations are there on this basic recipe? Well, go look at the canned beans or the dried beans…there are so many possibilities. Even though this recipe calls for the liquid from the canned beans, I really don’t like the taste so I drain and rinse the beans and substitute an equal amount of water or chicken stock instead…but do whatever works for you. If you’ve cooked your own dried beans, then by all means use the liquid from the beans.
Now go check out the frozen greens in the supermarket–or the fresh ones in the produce department. (I don’t like spinach in this since it’s so tender that it cooks to slime–but kale, collards, mustard, even cabbage will work–any of the “tough” greens that need longer cooking).
You want more variations? Okay go to the meat department and check out the varieties of sausage that are available–polish sausages, bratwurst, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find store-made fresh sausages: bangers, lamb sausages, chicken sausages, bratwurst, et cetera. So there are lots of variations with some minor changes in seasoning. I know that If I ask, I can find out what seasoning is in the sausages, and adjust the seasoning of my one-dish meal accordingly. When you want to make a single-serving, you can buy just one or two sausages.
If you like this sort of thing, here a link to The Kitchn where you’ll find a great sounding recipe for beans and greens with a slightly different touch. These are such versatile ingredients–and just add a bit of rice or pasta and you’ve got a whole meal, with or without the meat.