Monday, January 12, 2015

Portuguese Kale and Sausage Stew

Kale and potatoes make this traditional Old World stew both healthy and a complete meal unto itself if desired. Cafe Drake HRV prefers a large bowl served with slices of hot garlic bread but no accompaniment is truly necessary. For those craving more carbs, and authenticity, try alongside the stew crunchy Portuguese bread rolls known as papo secos. This combination, with plenty of cold, sweet butter on the side, and maybe a sweet pickle or two, is typically found in the Portuguese restaurants (and homes) of coastal New England (from Mystic, CT. through Providence, RI).

Although labeled "hot" the Portuguese sausage known as chourico is mild in comparison to spicy Italian sausage. Chourico primarily tastes of garlic and sweet and smoked paprikas. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic the sausage is readily available at larger supermarkets and gourmet food shops.

If you can't locate chourico, substitute dry chorizo.

The kale and sausage stew freezes well and will stay fresh, covered and refrigerated, for 5 days. Try leftover stew atop a baked potato.

Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and, when the oil is hot, add to it 2 large onions (chopped) and 2 waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold or red new potatoes (peeled and cut into small pieces). Stir to coat with oil, raise the heat slightly and cover the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times. If some of the potatoes begin sticking to the pan, fret not. Now add 4 cloves of garlic (minced) along with 5-6 cups shredded kale (just rinse the kale leaves and remove the greens from the thick stalk. Shred or tear with our hands in to pieces). 

Cover again until the kale wilts, about 2 minutes. Add 1-2 diced tomatoes, 4 or 5 cups of water and 1/2 lb. chourico or dry chorizo sausage, cut into small pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Cook for at least 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Check for seasoning. Add black pepper and/or cayenne if you prefer a spicy stew. Use salt to taste and with caution; some brands of sausage may be very salty and little additional salt will be needed.

As with most stews and soups, flavors intensify even more the following day, so if possible plan ahead and prepare the stew ahead of time.

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