One of my favorite activities, if you can call it that, is nurturing. Whether it’s my pups, my loved ones, a loaf of bread, a pot of stew or – more recently – my garden. My darling puppy Sophie has a soft spot for mended seams and sown seeds. She has dug her way into my garden so many times I thought nothing would grow. She made it through three different types of barriers, a trait I have to admire, and ended up helping some of my seedlings thrive. Here are a few shots of my garden over the past several weeks so you can see the progress.
I have not been able to pick anything as of yet, but I am patiently waiting. One thing about summer here in Phoenix is that it’s ridiculously hot. Summer in Phoenix is similar to winter in Boston – a virtual ghost town. It’s too hot to move, or even think on some days. But for some reason I was in need of the comforting dish below. I am coming down off a crazy few weeks (months… years… but who’s counting) and have been anxious for the next batch of action. One of my resolutions has been to enjoy the seasons and stages of our lives. As such I am trying to embrace this quiet by taking days off, without a solid need, and making dishes layered with flavor (regardless of temperature). This dish below was magnificent and if you can’t bear warm dishes in the heat you should flag this and save it for the first cool night of fall.
Light Sausage and White Bean Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced into coins
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup pureed tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pinches dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 pound Swiss chard (can also swap kale, spinach or another green), ribs and stems removed and cleaned, coarsely chopped
- Optional: Toasted bread slices, poached eggs (tutorial), and grated Parmesan or Romano to serve
- In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 4 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add 1/2 cup of broth (scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the pot) and cook it until it reduced. Add beans, remaining broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chard and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve as is or you can ladle the stew over thick piece of toasted country bread or baguette and top with a poached egg and some grated cheese.