Escarole Ribollita

Escarole Ribollita

1 head escarole

1 fennel bulb (reserve a few sprigs)

1 large or 2-3 small carrots

1.5 c cooked or 1 can cannellini beans (cooked from dried or from a can)

1 sausage

2 tb rosemary leaves

1 tb fennel seed

½ c white wine

Stale bread (at least 1 cup, you can substitute bread crumbs or toast some fresh bread)

5 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tb. red pepper flakes

3 quarts water

Vegetable or chicken stock if you will not prepare your own.

1 tsp salt (not necessary if you’re buying a stock)

Prepare cannellini beans if not from a can.  If you’re buying a stock, heat it up in a large soup pot. If you’re not buying stock, prepare a stock by taking a large soup pot, dropping a metal colander into it, adding 3 quarts water, throwing all your carrot, fennel (reserve a few for topping), and leek tops into it (or anything else you’re not gonna eat soon). Bring to a boil, and then simmer for at least 30 min. Pull out the vegetable-filled colander for compost.

Thinly slice 1-2 onions. Dice sausage if in casing. Slice fennel bulb ¼ in thick. Reserve tops for garnish. Halve carrots lengthwise, then slice thinly into half-moons. Chop rosemary leaves and toast fennel seeds lightly. Chop escarole into ½ in strips, and make a few haphazard cuts through the rest.

Heat a large skillet. Add olive oil to coat entire base of pan and lower heat. Add onion and sausage. Cook 5 min. Add fennel bulb and carrots and cook for 4 min. Add rosemary and fennel seed for a minute. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of your pan.

Add skillet ingredients you’ve prepared to your liquid-filled soup pot along with your chopped escarole at a medium-low flame for 15 minutes. Toast your bread, if you’re using fresh.

Add garlic, cooked beans, bread, and salt. Cook 30 minutes..

Garnish with pecorino romano, fennel sprigs, and red pepper flakes.

Cabbage with Caraway Seeds

Cabbage with Caraway Seeds

altered from Red Cabbage with Caraway Seeds, Saveur, Issue #22

1⁄4 lb. uncured sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
1 large head cabbage, cored and shredded
3 tsp. caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
2 1⁄4 cups dry white wine
2 tbsp. honey

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook sausage in a large deep skillet over low heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-low, add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 7 minutes.

Add vinegar if pan is sticking, then cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then add caraway seeds, and bay leaf, and cook 5 more minutes. Increase heat to medium; add wine, honey, and vinegar; and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft and cooking liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 3 minutes. (Add water if liquid evaporates too quickly and cabbage begins to stick to skillet.) Add salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste.

(Optional) Remove cabbage mixture from heat, transfer to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. To serve, warm cabbage mixture over low heat, adjusting seasoning with salt, pepper, and vinegar if necessary.

Bacon can be substituted for sausage, just increase the initial cooking time of the meat and keep on a low flame.

Wild Rice, Fennel, and Sausage Stuffing

Wild Rice, Sausage and Fennel Stuffing

Altered from Bon Appétit, Nov 1995

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups wild rice (about 9 ounces), rinsed, drained

1 cup water

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1/3 pound shiitakes, de-stemmed and cut into thirds or halves

3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Combine broth, rice, 1 cup water and fennel seeds in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until rice is tender, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes. Drain.

Sauté sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to plate. Add chopped fennel bulbs, onions, and shiitakes to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until vegetables are golden, about 10 minutes. Add rice and sausage to skillet. Sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. If serving as side dish, rewarm covered in 350°F. oven for 20 minutes.) Transfer to bowl and serve. If using as stuffing, cool completely and fill bird.