Chicken Sausage, White Beans and Kale

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Last week I was going to share with you a great weeknight recipe I came up with involving chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s (the garlic and herb flavor), mirepoix–that’s carrots, onions and celery for you amateurs–and white beans. That was it. Then, a week later, I made it again, only this time I added kale and suddenly a super casual dinner took on some oomph. This was a dinner that people might really want to make on a weeknight, that’s tasty but also healthy and surprisingly flavorful with the addition of a secret ingredient at the end which I won’t tell you about until after the jump. Ok fine, I’ll tell you: it’s lemon juice. And it works wonders.

Let’s start at the beginning. To make this dinner, buy some chicken sausage–the one I bought was already cooked, so you’re really just getting some color in this first step–slice it into thick rings and cook in 1/4 cup olive oil that you heat on high heat in a fairly large, metal skillet.

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See all the color I developed there? That’s because I let it sear well on both sides. Once that happens, remove the sausage to a plate and add either onions, carrots and celery or, if you don’t have all of those things, just onions. About one yellow onion, chopped. Sprinkle with salt, lower the heat and allow to cook for as long as you can until the onion takes on a deep brown color. Then add 2 or 3 cloves of sliced garlic:

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[Note: that picture’s from the week before when I didn’t use kale and had carrots and celery; the kale version was all onion.]

When the garlic becomes fragrant, add a can of drained white beans. Any kind will do.

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Here’s where you squeeze in the juice of one lemon; try to hit the bottom of the pan with the lemon juice because it’ll help work up the brown bits. Stir everything around and season again with salt.

Now, add your sausage back to the pan and a big pile of shredded kale.

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Sprinkle with more salt, squeeze on a little more lemon, stir all around and cover to allow the kale to wilt for a minute or so.

Then taste and adjust for salt and lemon:

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Um, guys? This is such a perfect, easy weeknight dinner. It’s got protein, it’s got kale, it’s got heat and acid and, well, it’s just wonderful. You can eat it with white wine, you can eat it with red wine. You can eat it while watching Jeopardy OR Wheel of Fortune, both will work.

I’ll pat myself on the back, now, because I know you’re proud of me and my new favorite weeknight dinner.

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