Chris and I recently started an 8-week whole food / paleo-ish diet as part of his crossfit gym's challenge, and really it's been a great cooking challenge for us. Due to various personal reasons, we haven't been great about cooking adventurously in the past year, hence the lack of posts here. Although we didn't go so far as to stop cooking altogether and live off of takeout (don't get me wrong, I was tempted), we did rely too heavily on starches, and our meals consistently were 70% starch, 20% meat, 10% veggie, and the veggie was really out of sheer obligation.
Taking the eating challenge seriously has been a fantastic way to catapult us outside of our food rut, and it's exactly what we needed.
Today we made a sausage and kale stew that was so satisfying, so flavorful, and so following the new eating rules, that I couldn't help but share it. And moreover, we completely made it up based on flavors that we knew would go well together and recipes we had read in the past, so it was a great exercise of getting us back into the fun and adventure of cooking.
Sausage and Kale Stew
1.5 lbs ground Italian pork sausage (find a paleo-friendly brand if you're eating that way)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 large red bell pepper, largely diced
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
5 cups water
1 bunch curly kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped
Red pepper flakes
Cook the sausage, breaking it up as much as possible. As it is cooking, add the chopped fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes and incorporate. When the sausage is nearly cooked through, add the onion, shallots, and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are softened. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Pour the liquid from the can of whole tomatoes to the pot, and then separately squeeze the juice from the tomatoes and lightly chop the flesh. Put the remaining flesh and juice from the tomatoes into the stew and stir. Add the water, salt, and pepper, and bring to a light boil. The amount of salt and pepper you need will depend on the strength of seasoning already in your sausage of choice. Add more italian seasoning to taste as well. Put a top on the stew and let it lightly simmer for 1 hour.
After an hour, add the chopped kale to the pot, and stir. Return the lid and let the kale cook down slightly for 10 minutes.
Serve in a large bowl and enjoy, especially on a snowy day like we're having today!