Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Cabbage
|1 pounddried cannellini beans; (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over|
|1 tablespoonextra virgin olive oil; plus extra for drizzling|
|1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage; casings removed|
|1 largeonion; chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)|
|2 mediumcelery ribs; cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)|
|2 mediumcarrots; peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)|
|8 mediumgarlic cloves; peeled and crushed|
|4 cupslow-sodium chicken broth|
|2 Bay leaves|
|1/2 mediumhead savoy cabbage; cut into 1-inch pieces|
|1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes drained and rinsed|
|1 sprig fresh oregano leaves|
|Ground; black pepper|
|8 slices country white bread; each 1 1/4 inches thick, broiled until golden brown on both sid|
Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Cabbage Preparation
1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and sausage in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon until it loses its raw color, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate and place in refrigerator. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens, sausage, and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
4. Remove pot from oven and submerge oregano sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and oregano sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.
We prefer the creamier texture of beans soaked overnight for this recipe. If you're short on time, quick-soak them: Place the rinsed beans in a large heat-resistant bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well before proceeding with step 2. For a more substantial dish, serve the stew over toasted bread. This variation has much more meat than the Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew and is made with crinkly Savoy cabbage.
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