I recently had my wrist slapped for eating too many sugars and carbohydrates. (Apparently, my frequent pasta dinners and midday pain au chocolat fixes eventually caught up with me.) My doctor immediately instructed me to break-up with refined grains (only temporarily) and get up close and personal with protein rich foods like beans and lean meats. I made this rustic pottage with cannellini beans, chickpeas, and lean chicken sausage, as well as some other ingredients lying around the house, soon after. It turned out to be a deliciously wholesome and perfect meal for a cold winter night. Since this is a hodgepodge, you can swap out (or add) different ingredients, like lentils in lieu of chickpeas or sauteed apples in lieu of carrots. Because I'm not particularly good at following doctor's orders, I highly recommend serving this with some toast points to soak up every last bit. —theicp
four - six
Chicken sausage links, casings removed
Yellow onion, chopped
Large cloves of garlic, minced
Carrots, peeled and chopped
c. Chicken stock
T. Tomato paste
c. Cannellini beans
c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Kosher salt and pepper
t. Crushed red pepper (optional)
T. Breadcrumbs (optional)
In This Recipe
There is no need to use dried beans, although dried beans will give you a more rustic flavor. If using dried beans, place them in a large bowl adding two cups of water per each cup of beans, along with a tablespoon of salt. Let them soak overnight. Transfer the beans to a large pot and simmer for about an hour and a half until the beans are tender.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a ceramic Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil and the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon as it browns.
Once browned, add the onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes or until both the carrots and onions look like they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes.
Stir in chicken broth, scraping the pan to loosen browned, as well as the tomato paste, one tablespoon of thyme, honey, a pinch of ground pepper, northern beans, chickpeas, and bay leaf. Add a hefty pinch kosher salt and crushed red pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs (if desired) evenly over the pottage and transfer dish to oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes or until the top becomes brown and bubbly.
Remove from oven and serve in individual soup tureens, sprinkling any remaining thyme and parmesan cheese over the top. Serve with whole wheat toast points.