This post is for my Best Friend ZoPo. The other half of Zo and Ro, (rhymes with sew.) I've been making Ms. Zoë dinner since we were 14 and I don't think that there is anyone I like cooking for more than her, except maybe my dad. I have lots of happy memories of rocking up to wherever Zo was, a respite from my travels, immediately declaring that I WOULD make dinner, and Zo keeping me company while I cooked.
Every once in a while I make something that turns out so good that it's unreal. This recipe was conceived by Bon Appetite, but I've made a few adjustments that seems to work quite well. The first time I posted this, Zoe said she added sausage to the recipe, so I did as well, but it's equally as good without.
I had a half a head of cabbage in the fridge which I finely sliced and threw in. Cabbage, like kale, takes well to high-heat cooking, so it added substance that helps it feel really filling. I also threw in a leek I had lying around, and two shallots, in addition to white onion and garlic, creating some depth to the base of the dish. You don't need to have all of these things on hand, I think you'd be fine with onion, garlic, beans and kale, but if you've got 'em, use 'em.
Finally, chucked in some white wine, and a spoonful of dijon mustard to add zing to the sauce. I loved the way that the heat from the chili warmed my whole belly. Word of caution, sausage gives off a ton of fat, so I recommend searing it over high heat before anything else, and then draining off most of the fat that is rendered.
Serve this with grilled bread rubbed with some garlic and topped with goats cheese or a sharp cheddar. A great dish to make as the upstate New York weather turns brisk.
I'll make this for you at Christmas Zo, but try it out in the meantime and let me know what you think.
Spicy Greens with Sausage
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, or two stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed and broken up into balls
- Half-head of green cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 bunch of Lacinato kale, stalks removed and chopped
- 1 red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 2 cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
- 5 springs of thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 dry white wine
- 1 spoonful of mustard
It's best to get everything chopped and prepped before you start cooking. The kale and the cabbage can take a bit of time to get prepped, but a sharp knife will make short work of it.
Heat up a large dutch oven casserole. Add the sausage in two batches, so you don't overcrowd the pan. Sear over high-heat. I like using a fine-mesh splatter guard here because then I don't get hot fat in my eye. Give them a toss/flip so that they get golden on all sides. Remove from pan, to a plate and drain off most of the fat into a jar.
Add the onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chili, rosemary and thyme to the pan. Cook over low heat until everything has softened a lot and has turned translucent. Add the beans, sausage, the white wine, the mustard and 1 cup either broth/or water. You can add a bit of liquid from the bean cans as well. Bring to a light boil, and then turn to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the greens and the lemon juice. Cover with a lid and let the steam soften the greens for 1-2 minutes. Then remove the lid and carefully, using a wooden spoon, fold the greens into the broth mixture, until they are well mixed. Cover again and let simmer for 5 minutes or so or until the greens are soft and wilted. While this is going on, make toast out of good sourdough bread, and then top with some goat cheese or sharp cheddar.
Serve with wedges of lemon and use your toasts as a spoon.