I have a pretty crazy obsession with kale.  It’s one of the few foods I can’t go a day without eating and always have a  big ol’ bag of raw kale greens stocked in the fridge. Because of its high nutritional value compared to other lettuces, I use this kale as the base of my lunch salads, topping with whatever fresh or seasonal veggies and fruits, nuts, and deli meats we have in the house.  At first, Nate and Caleb oddly stared at my pile of bittersweet greens everyday, but now they’re used to my lunchtime ritual.

Honestly, while I love the taste of raw kale greens drizzled with some good olive oil, salt, and pepper, I know it’s not everyone’s first choice for a favorite food (hence the weird looks from my boys). But if you’re looking for a vegetable packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, kale is an excellent option to incorporate into meals.  If you’ve never tried kale or new to the kale craze, try this recipe.  Combined with sausage, beans, wild rice polenta, white wine, and herbs, you may forget you’re eating something so good for you!

1.  In a Dutch Oven or heavy-bottom stockpot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

2.  Add sausages.  Cook sausages in onion and garlic mixture for several minutes, browning on all sides. Remove sausage from pan, cut into bite-sized pieces.

3.  Return sausages to pan, along with drained/rinsed beans, rosemary, salt and pepper (a few grinds from the salt and pepper mill), the pinch of sugar, and another drizzle of olive oil.  Saute 1-2 minutes.

4. Add wine, give the mixture a stir, and let some of the wine cook down, about another minute or so.

5.  Add kale on top of mixture. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of the kale.  

6.  Add chicken stock. Give the mixture a quick stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent beans and sausage from sticking. The kale is hearty enough to wilt nicely into the chicken and beans without becoming mushy.

7. While the sausage and kale mixture is simmering, start the polenta. Polenta is traditionally made from ground cornmeal. We upped the nutritional and taste ante by making this amazing wild rice “polenta” (basically crushed/ground wild rice grain) from Minnestalgia a family run company hand-harvesting wild rice products in Minnesota. Unlike cornmeal polenta, this wild rice polenta more resembles quinoa, doesn’t take an hour to cook, nor firms up the minute you stop whisking it.  Plus, it’s dark, nutty taste and texture was an awesome accompaniment to the sausage, beans and kale.

8. Prepare the wild rice polenta according to package directions. Ours took a little longer than the stated package directions (about 10 minutes total). In the last minute, stir in Pecorino-Romano cheese.

9.  Dish out 1/2 cup wild rice polenta into 2 shallow bottom bowls. Top with chicken and kale mixture. Garnish with freshly grated cheese and parsley.

Braised Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Beans over Wild Rice Polenta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Braised Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Beans over Wild Rice Polenta

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Spanish or Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 Chicken Sausages
  • 1 Can Cannelinni Beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
  • Fresh Rosemary leaves (from 2 sprigs), roughly chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine (I used a Chardonnay in this dish)
  • 2 cups Tuscan Kale, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup low-sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup Minnestalgia Wild Rice Polenta
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Pecorino/Romano Cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup Flat Italian Parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch Oven or heavy-bottom stockpot, saute the onions and garlic in 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add sausages. Cook sausages in onion and garlic mixture for several minutes, browning on all sides. Remove sausage from pan. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Return sausages to pan, along with drained/rinsed beans, rosemary, salt and pepper (a few grinds from the salt and pepper mill), the pinch of sugar, and another drizzle of olive oil. Saute 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add wine, give the mixture a stir, and let some of the wine cook down, about another minute or so.
  5. Add kale on top of mixture.
  6. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of the kale.
  7. Add chicken stock. Give the mixture a quick stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent beans and sausage from sticking. The kale is hearty enough to wilt beautifully without becoming mushy.
  8. While the sausage and kale mixture is simmering, start the polenta. Polenta is traditionally made from ground cornmeal. We upped the nutritional and taste ante by making this amazing wild rice "polenta" (basically crushed/ground wild rice grain) from Minnestalgia.
  9. Prepare the wild rice polenta according to package directions. Ours took a little longer than the stated package directions (about 10 minutes total). In the last minute, stir in Pecorino-Romano cheese.
  10. Dish out 1/2 cup wild rice polenta into 2 shallow bottom bowls. Top with chicken and kale mixture. Garnish with freshly grated cheese and parsley.
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