music: “Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells
This time of year is so crazy! I haven’t even had the time to enjoy the Christmas season and the snow because I have been to crazed with finishing up school. Unfortunately, cooking gets sporadic at these crazy times for me. Luckily, my school work actually encourages me a lot of the time to get back into the kitchen and make myself a healthy meal. Last week, I came across this recipe on Whole Foods’ website while doing research for a presentation I had to do for school. It is so warm and yummy especially this time of year!
Polenta is a cold weather dish popular in Italy, especially Venice! The apple chardonnay chicken sausage (available at Whole Foods) adds a really nice taste to this dish. You should try it out!
Polenta with Apple Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Beans adapted from Whole Foods
4 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 sage leaves
1 (2-inch) sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
Cheesecloth and kitchen twine (you could also use a loose tea holder)
3 cups dinosaur kale, large stems removed, leaves chopped
3 yellow polenta
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces Apple Chardonnay Chicken sausage, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (for a quick shortcut you can use a can)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large pot, bring the broth, 4 cups water, and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, wrap the garlic, sage, rosemary, and red chile flakes in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with a piece of twine to make a pouch. Reduce the heat to low, add the herb pouch and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard pouch, then add kale and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain kale, return liquid to the pot and return to a simmer. Set kale aside. With the broth mixture at a simmer, pour the polenta into the pot in a slow, steady stream while stirring with a wooden spoon. Keeping the heat very low, stir slowly every few minutes for about 40 minutes. If some lumps form, press them against the side of the pot to dissolve them. The polenta should be thick and creamy.
While the polenta is cooking, heat drizzle of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until golden brown all over. Remove and reserve.
To finish the polenta, turn off the heat, cover pot and let rest, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Remove lid and stir polenta, scraping the sides of the pot with the wooden spoon. Add reserved kale, beans, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the parsley and stir gently to incorporate all the ingredients into the polenta. Cook for another 2 minutes at a simmer, continuing to stir.
To serve, top the polenta with the sausage and sprinkle with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese.