Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stewing Over It

Keith has never been a big fan of soup, but I think I've managed to convert him over the course of this winter. The trick is to tend towards stews, the heartier the better, for my meat-and-potatoes man. And if it goes in the crock pot, all the better for me. That's why this recipe was an all-around winner.

White Bean and Kielbasa Stew
Real Simple

1 pound dried white beans (such as Northern or navy)
14 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used a jar of our chunky tomato sauce)
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (I used a few sprigs of fresh rosemary)
5 ounces baby spinach (6 cups)

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, kielbasa, broth, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, garlic, rosemary, and 1 cup water.

Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Just before serving, stir in the spinach. Serve with bread.

This recipe, besides being delicious, did a couple things for us: made use of our chicken stock, used up some of the spinach we froze raw, and prompted me to give the rosemary a little trim. Our rosemary plant came from my Grammy when we were still renting a townhouse and just had a few plants on the patio out back. It moved with us and in the spring, is transferred to our herb tub outside and then every fall before things freeze, put in a pot to spend the winter on top of the dryer in our sunny laundry room. It seems to thrive anywhere, which is a relief since most of my houseplants get a little scraggly. And that little pot of oregano on the right lives despite having dried up several times in the summer sun. Hearty herbs, I guess.

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