- By Addie Broyles American-Statesman Staff
Hearty sausage stews made on Sunday come in handy for lunches during the week.
This version comes from U.K. author Nick Barnard’s book “Eat Right: The Complete Guide to Traditional Foods, with 130 Nourishing Recipes and Techniques” (Kyle Books, $39.95), and it originally called for lard. I wouldn’t recommend using commercial lard for a dish like this, but if you have access to high-quality stuff from a farmers market, go for it.
Fats make a bigger difference in soups and stews than you might realize, but that’s why you don’t often start with butter unless it’s a creamy soup. Olive oil is fine here. You could use vegetable oil, too, but the chickpeas and spinach benefit from a nicely flavored cooking fat. If you like leftovers, you might consider making a double batch of this or any one of your favorites and freezing individual portions for quick meals over the next few weeks.
Sausage, Chickpea and Spinach Stew
Any simple and quick-to-make recipe that includes fresh, nutrient-rich greens and ever-popular sausages in an addictive sloppy sauce is perfect for all the family, especially fussy children and their parents, anxious about a balanced diet. When you buy sausages, artisan or not, check the ingredients carefully. You are looking for about 80 percent meat or more, within a natural casing, and as ever, no ingredients you can’t spell or pronounce.
— Nick Barnard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 finely chopped small red chili or 1/2 teaspoon harissa (optional)
5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped medium–small
1 pound pork or venison sausages
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
A good-sized bunch of fresh spinach leaves or chard
Crusty bread, for serving
Melt the olive oil in a medium-size cast-iron casserole pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until soft and golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili or harissa, to taste, if using. Add the garlic and chopped-up sausages, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently so that the garlic does not stick and burn. Chuck in the chopped tomatoes with two big pinches of salt and the chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove any fibrous stems from the greens. Wash, drain and chop into medium slices. Drop the greens into the stew and stir. They will wilt within a minute or two. Taste for salt and adjust, and add some freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4.
— From “Eat Right: The Complete Guide to Traditional Foods, with 130 Nourishing Recipes and Techniques” by Nick Barnard (Kyle Books, $39.95)