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girls’ weekend

Recipe: cannellini bean, kale, and sausage stew

I’ve been in Colorado Springs for the past couple of days enjoying a girls’ retreat with my friends, Ellen (our host), Kathya, and Wendy. The words “girls’ weekend” probably conjure up thoughts of pedicures, spa time, shopping, and boozy parties, but… that’s not me. That’s not us. This was mostly time spent around food and Halloween and each other. It was great (see for yourself).

amazing ethiopian dinner at uchenna

i made halloween stockings for each of us to hang by the fireplace

my first visit to garden of the gods

halloween stocking loot the next morning

breakfast tacos (fried egg, avocado, tomatillo salsa, corn tortilla)

and then there was homemade apple pie

ellen’s pup requesting a taste of some pie

homemade sugar skulls for dia de los muertos


finished skulls

gorgeous sunset over pikes peak

toasting before our group effort dinner with sparkling red bubbles

dinner: miso butter roast chicken, gremolata potatoes, caesar salad, lemon-rosemary crown

Despite the mild weather, I am thinking of comfort foods. Meals that are hot and served with a ladle. Winter is coming (ask any Stark) and nothing beats having a steaming bowl of hearty stew to warm up your insides when you come in from the cold. I saw a lovely cannellini bean stew posted by my friend Kalyn the other day and immediately put it on my menu for that week.

chicken broth, kale, sausage, cannellini beans, tomatoes, garlic, herbs

brown the sausage

I am always on the lookout for recipes that require beans, because I love using my pressure cooker to cook dried beans. There is still some adjustment I need to make in getting them perfectly cooked, but I’m getting there. The stew also calls for kale, which both Jeremy and I love to eat. And instead of Kalyn’s turkey sausage, I used spicy Italian pork sausage.

strip the kale from the ribs

everything prepped for the slow cooker

You can make this stew on the stove or in a slow cooker. The advantage of the slow cooker is that you don’t have to babysit the stew while it cooks and it comes out beautifully. Just brown the sausage, prep the ingredients, and put everything in the slow cooker except for the kale, which goes in near the end of the cooking time.

add everything but the kale to the cooker

give it a stir

add the kale

let it stew a little longer

That’s pretty much all there is to it! It’s so easy to throw together and what you get at the end is a nice rich stew chock full of goodies like beans, kale, tomatoes, and sausage. Top it off with some grated or shaved Parmesan and you have yourself a satisfying meal. And if you decide to cook on the stove, it’s not that much more involved. This will be perfect après ski, as soon as we get some snow.

serve with some parmesan and crostini

Cannellini Bean, Kale, and Sausage Stew
[print recipe]
from Kalyn’s Kitchen

2 tsps olive oil
1 lb. bulk spicy Italian sausage (or any sausage, but I like spicy!)
32 oz. (2 cans) cannellini beans (or pressure cook 1 cup dried cannellini beans)
2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
2 tbsps garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
4 cups fresh kale

In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the sausage. Fry the sausage, breaking up large chunks, until browned. Drain the beans. Place the cooked sausage, beans, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, and chicken stock in a slow cooker. Cook for 2 1/2 hours on high. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can bring everything to a boil in a stock pot and then reduce to a simmer for about an hour. Remove the kale leaves from their fibrous ribs. Chop the leaves (discard or compost the ribs) and add them to the stew. Let the slow cooker continue on high for 45 more minutes. If cooking on the stove, simmer the stew for another 15 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Serves 6-8.

19 nibbles at “girls’ weekend”

  1. Kevin (Closet Cooking) says:

    Now this is my kind of winter soup! Nice and tasty, healthy and so easy to make!

  2. Debbie says:

    This is perfect for the coming winter…or really anytime. I love this type of meal though on a really cold day. Thanks for this recipe!

  3. Kristin says:

    Looks like a fun weekend. Any chance you’ll share the recipe for miso butter roast chicken, or is it as easy as I suspect it might be?

  4. Sarah@strawberryplum says:

    This is really similar to my favorite white bean and kale soup that I make alllll winter. I’ve never thought to do it in a slow-cooker though…thanks for the tip!

  5. Adam says:

    You should really add those kale ribs to the soup when you throw everything into the slow cooked. Diced up, they will turn into delicious little kale morsels.

  6. Kelley says:

    As always, it looks delicious all around – and those sugar skulls are gorgeous!

  7. susan says:

    I came to your website to find a stir fry recipe and saw this. Great minds think alike, as last night I prepared a similar soup…chicken broth. I only had spinach so I added to the soup and I borrowed an idea I saw on a food show to saute spaghetti pieces to add to soup! Delicious with parmesan and crunchy bread as we watched Hurricane Sandy’s assault on central VA. A lot of rain and wind!!

  8. Marisa @ Uproot From Oregon says:

    This looks like such a beautiful and hearty soup! With all the rain and cold weather that Hurricane Sandy has brought us in D.C., I am looking forward to making some hot soup to keep me cozy while I do homework. Love your pictures like always and those sugar skulls look amazing.

  9. zingara says:

    there was no indication of the origin of this bean soup/stew but my mother, [italian, from naples] used to make a dish very similar. she varied the greens, though, to whatever was available. it could be any of the following: endive, spinach, turnip tops, kale or dandelion. it was a favorite at our house in the winter. thanks for the memory…i’ll have to make it this winter.

  10. Kalyn says:

    Looks like you’re having a great time. So glad you enjoyed the stew!

  11. Kathy Swanson says:

    Yummy! Mr John will love this one Jen.

  12. Jill says:

    love a good stew, and of course….the celebration of Halloween! Looks like a fun time!

  13. Kimberly says:

    Made this yesterday afternoon (exactly as written, except subbed 48 oz diced canned tomatoes). Absolutely loved it, perfect for handing out candy. The flavors are wonderful and it heats up very well (am enjoying it for lunch right now!)



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  15. Theresa says:

    I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I followed the recipe except I used fresh roma tomatoes and all fresh herbs from my garden. We ate it with garlic mozzarella bread. The stew was still delicious the next day. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  16. Mika says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but I just wanted to say that you made me smile. The recipe looks lovely as usual, particularly as it’s beginning to dip close to (and below!) freezing on Long Island, but as random as it sounds, it was your side comment, “ask any Stark” that made me so happy. I spend most of yesterday reading the first half of A Game of Thrones, and it’s perfect that I read your post today. You just cheered me up!

    Also, I just happen to have a few cans of cannellini beans from Trader Joe’s. Stew time :)

  17. jenyu says:

    Kristin – it’s up!! :)

    Adam – thanks for the tip.

    Kelley – thanks, they were really cool.

    susan – glad VA didn’t get hit worse than it did. xo

    Marisa – thank you!

    zingara – yes, I don’t know where it comes from, but I love it!

    Kalyn – thank you, sweetheart!! xo

    Kathy – oh, I hope so! Hugs to you both!

    Jill – xo

    Kimberly – yay, so happy to hear it!

    Theresa – I thought it tasted even better the 2nd day :)

    Mika – ha ha!! I love GoT!!

  18. Sara {Lava Lake Lamb} says:

    Those sugar skulls look amazing…as does the sausage!

  19. Traci says:

    I’m sad to see that you were in Colorado Springs and I didn’t know it! I would like to meet you! :D However, isn’t CS beautiful? Needs more snow!

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