Sunday, November 3, 2013

Farro, Kale and Sausage Stew

It was my turn to cook on Wednesday night.

As I have written, dear readers, and because it explains why my posts have been so patchy, October was a travel-a-rama month.  I wasn’t sure which airport I was in half the time.  My aerial adventures facilitated a lot of reading time.  I finished one book (that I will write about), started another, read many on-line articles and salivated over countless recipes in cooking magazines.  One such recipe is “Farro, Kale and Sausage Stew” in the November 2013 issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray.

I love that this magazine is printed on recycled paper. 

Anyway, the issue is packed with many delights (including one for infusing honey with espresso coffee…yum) but I chose to make this one for my Wednesday evening get-together.

The recipe calls for kale.  Irish Guy tells me that it is an Irish tradition to serve potatoes and kale on Halloween.  Being the curious sort I am I did a little research.  It appears that the Celts celebrated All Hallowtide' or Samhain – marking the end of summer, the start of the harvest season, and the night spirits revisited the mortal world.  The Celts lit bonfires and wore masks believing that both would help to keep evil spirits away.  The night before was known as 'All Hallows Eve' now, Halloween. Before heading out for an evening of tomfoolery on Halloween, the Irish prepared a traditional dish called Colcannon made with boiled potatoes, curly kale, and raw onions.  Sometimes as a special treat they hid clean coins in the potatoes for children to find and keep. 

Even though my dish did not include potatoes (or coins), it did include kale and a grain and it was served on Halloween Eve, so it felt a little Irish to me!
Kale is often called “wild cabbage” and is in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.  This cruciferous vegetable has been dubbed one of the world’s healthiest foods, containing high levels of vitamins A & C and manganese and the best way to enjoy the health benefits of kale is to steam it. The flavonoids in the vegetable contain antioxidants and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.  Additionally, kale has risk-lowering benefits for cancer, and helps the body with natural detoxification. 

I knew I felt better on Thursday morning.

Farro, Kale and Sausage Stew
From:  Rachael Ray

1 cup whole-grain farro
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian sausage (about 2 links), casings removed
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 cups chicken stock
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used thyme from my garden….I love I can still use my herb garden!)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, cover the farro with a couple inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, salt the water and simmer gently until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium. Cook the sausage, breaking it up, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Cook the garlic until golden, 2 minutes. Add the stock; bring to a simmer. Stir in the farro and kale and simmer until the kale is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Return the sausage to the pan and stir in the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the stew among bowls, top with the cheese and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil

My notes….
I used pearled farro and it turned out just fine.  I only used four cups of broth and sweet Italian chicken sausage but added red pepper flakes during the browning process.  Also, I doubled the garlic…sorry, I’m half Italian and can’t help myself.

For dessert, Singer made baked apples that were so incredibly tasty – I wanted another, but reluctantly refrained.  After dinner, Foodie and Architect whipped out their knitting projects.  Architect is knitting this sweater and I think it will be ready to wear very soon! Foodie already finished hers…we won’t discuss about my knitting project.

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