Turkey Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Stew is a one pot wonder for any night of the week. Plus it’s got everything you need for a complete meal in one bowl…carbs, protein, veggies and even some healthy fats. I know…I’m a freaking genius. I just made life so much easier and tastier. Someone should probably pay me to do this!
This recipe is a take on a classic Italian dish, escarole and beans. Escarole is a leafy green that is easily mistaken for romaine or green leaf lettuce however escarole is more hearty and bitter. In Italy, you’ll find escarole in soups, sautéed as a side dish and even eaten raw in salads. Escarole and white beans are often paired together and the consistency of the dish can range from something that’s sautéed and almost dry, to a thick stew or even a brothy soup. This is more on the thick stew side, hence the title of the post. If you want this to be brothier then simply just add more chicken stock or even water. Keeping with my recent theme of more “simple” recipes this has roughly 8 ingredients. So it’s perfect for the chilly, snowy Chicago weeknight. (But hey if you’re living in California it’s perfect for a balmy Saturday night.)
Cooking simple, minimalist food is amazing and so gratifying. However, in order to create greatness you must use the best. It’s that time people…I’m going to preach about quality. Since this recipe only has a few ingredients if you use mediocre ones then guess what? Your stew will be mediocre. If you use superb, local, organic or just down right tasty ingredients the better your stew will taste.
In my head, this seems like a very simple concept. Buy quality ingredients, make quality food. I realize that sometimes quality = higher cost, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Although, yes, really delicious, yummy high quality extra virgin olive oil will be more expensive than grocery store blended olive oil. But the taste of the EVOO (yes I just whipped out a Rachael Ray) is so superior to blended oil that your mind will be blown. Additionally, how much olive oil are you using at a time? One, two tablespoons? It’s not like you’re deep-frying in olive oil! (If you are deep frying in extra virgin olive oil you should probably stop now.) My point is you don’t have to buy the most expensive items out there but look for a little higher quality and it will make a world of difference in your food.
Okay. I feel better. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
So this recipe starts with browning some super flavorful turkey sausage. I usually like to buy the “hot” turkey sausage but for this recipe in particular I stick with the good ole sweet Italian turkey sausage. I like the mild flavor and the note of herbs and fennel seeds. It works really well with the beans and greens. If you’re like my Dad and hate turkey sausage feel free to substitute with pork sausage. I would also recommend using the “sweet” version of the pork sausage. Also if you buy local pork sausage it will taste even better. Unless your local butcher shop doesn’t know how to make sausage. I mean I’m from Chicago, so that’s not even an issue.
After browning your sausage you’ll want to cook your onions and garlic in the drippings. Honestly there aren’t a lot of drippings leftover from turkey sausage but whatever is there is worth keeping. Also note, I use canned cannellini beans. If you want to use dry that’s awesome! Seriously I applaud you. I never plan enough in advance to use dried beans. Therefore, I use canned beans. However, I do use homemade chicken stock. This is something that can be substituted with “stock in a box” (damn! another Rachael Ray-ism) but should not be if it was up to me.
I will be posting a recipe for chicken stock soon but until then check out Closet Cooking’s Chicken Broth recipe.
My other super flavor booster is the rind from Parmigiano Reggiano. From now on when you buy a big ole chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano make sure it has the rind. The rind offers a boost of salt, flavor and umami. It will literally take your soups and stews to the next level. Trust me on this guys.
So what did we learn about Turkey Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Stew? It’s simple, it’s Italian and use the best.
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided (plus more garnish)
- 2 mild (sweet) turkey sausage links, casing removed (about ½#)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 can (14.5oz) cannellini beans
- 1-1 inch Parmigiano Reggiano rind
- 1 small head of escarole, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (for serving)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the turkey sausage and using a wooden spoon break up the pieces of turkey sausage. Lightly brown until it's almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove turkey sausage from pot into a bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil to the pot.
- Add the onions and sweat for 6-7 minutes until translucent.
- Add the sliced garlic and red chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add cannellini beans, chicken stock, Parmigiano Reggiano rind, thyme sprigs and turkey sausage and bring up to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and allow the soup to cook for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
- Next stir in the chopped escarole and allow the greens to wilt and simmer into the soup. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- To serve, ladle some of the soup into a bowl and top with 1 tbsp of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.