Friday, January 8, 2010

Andouille Sausage, Anaheim Pepper, and White Bean Stew

You are now entering the recipe free zone. I try. I do. It's just I like to cook, but don't like to measure. I decided that sometimes it's okay if throw out some simple ingredients lists and let you decide the amounts. Soups are the perfect example. I love making soup in the fall and winter. Soup is a perfect vehicle for all of those winter produce items you have stuffed in your fridge. Mixing them together within the bubbling goodness of a broth, be it delicate or hearty, can give new life to cool season staples.

Let's start with one Matt and I made this fall. We had an over abundance of late season peppers. We had hot peppers in many forms and red, orange, and green sweet peppers. By late October we had harvested all of our sweet peppers. This left us with lots of green peppers, in particular Anaheim peppers which are perfect for roasting. We roasted them by the arm load! Just lightly coat the skin with olive oil, sometimes this step is not even necessary, and place on the grill over medium high heat. Check and turn them regularly until the flesh is cracking and chard. To read more about roasting peppers, and peeling them click here. We peel, slice, bag and freeze them in smaller bags so they are ready to season soups and chili into the winter.

We have also been turning to a Turkey Andouille Sausage that Ellwood Thompson sells. I will state right now that I know nothing about the company that makes this sausage. This fall I caved in and gave it a try. It great for us because I only eat fish and poultry. I have talked to multiple vendors at the farmer's markets and they all said that producing sausages from poultry is too complicated and cost prohibitive for their small operations. So while my red meat eating husband can find anything he wants at the market I turned to this Andouille sausage from Ellwood's. I thought this sausage would be great with roasted peppers some fresh greens and some of my dried black eyed peas or white beans. The soup turned out wonderfully!!! Here is what we used in the end:

4(?_ quarts Vegetable stock
1 double handful of roasted Anaheim peppers coarsely chopped(Roasted Sweet Peppers would be fine if that's what you have)
3 small heads of roasted garlic
3 links of Turkey Andouille sausage cooked in a skilled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
Multiple handfuls of Swiss Chard (remove stem, chop stem and then coarsely chop greens. Be aware that if you use the red veined chard your soup will take on a pink hue. If this doesn't appeal to you use the white veined chard or another green such as kale. In the case of kale discard the stems. )
2 medium-large onions finely chopped
2 hot peppers, deseeded and finely minced
About 2 cups pre-cooked or canned beans
Salt and Fresh ground pepper
I may have thrown in Thyme and Marjoram to taste
Remember all these measurements are after the fact "guesstamations". The import thing is to add ingredients in ratios that taste good to you.
Bring the soup to a hard boil and then cook over medium-med. low heat so that it is simmering but not at a hard boil. I just tossed the onions in the broth, but cooking the onions in a tablespoon or two of olive oil at the bottom of your stock pot and then adding the broth over top will add a richer flavor. If using chard, add the leaf greens shortly before serving as they will cook very quickly.

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