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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Revisiting a Favorite

As I've mentioned, I have enough cookbooks to stock a library.  I have a simple test when perusing cookbooks in the bookstore.  If I can open the book three times and there are three recipes that are appealing, I consider buying the book.  Sometimes I go for a fourth try if I'm undecided but usually I just stick with three.  I find that that system works well for me.

There are also series of cookbooks that I usually get excited about.  It used to be that Williams Sonoma published a series of cookbooks that were great.  They were small books, not the huge tomes that they've been going for in more recent years, and they tended to concentrate on just one thing -- chicken, quick breads, cookies, soups and stews.  You have the idea.

I used to cook from the Williams Sonoma Stews (1995) cookbook a lot.  I think that over the years I've made almost every recipe in that cookbook.  And they were all good.  One of my favorites was a recipe for a Portuguese stew, which I made so many times that it has sort of morphed into my own recipe.

In an effort to diversify my cookbook selection (and thus what we are eating for dinner), I've been pulling out cookbooks that have been languishing on the shelf for far too long.  I am trying to do the same thing, with far less success, with my clothes.  (There's a reason I haven't worn those shoes in three years.  They're a half size too small.)  But you have the idea.

So, here's my recipe for Portuguese stew, with a little help from my old friends at Williams Sonoma.

Recipe:  Portuguese Stew with Sausage
(Adapted from Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library, Stews, 1995)

*  This is a soupy stew.


1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sausage (such as chorizo or hot italian (turkey or pork) sausage
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thin
3 cups chicken stock
1 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut lengthwise into strips 1/2 inch wide
2 cups cubed sweet potato
1 can (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juices
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper
1 bunch kale, with ribs removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a heavy bottomed stew pot (8 quart) over medium high heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer to a dish and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Set aside.

In the same pot, over medium high heat, add the onion slices and saute until the brown bits from the bottom of the pot sling to the slices, about 5 minutes.  Add the chick stock and scrape the remaining browned bits from the bottom of the pot using a wooden spoon.

Return the sausage to the pot, along with the bell pepper, potato, tomatoes and juices, red pepper, kate and the reserved beans.  Stir well and simmer over medium low heat until the kate is tender and the potato is cooked through, about 30-45 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into bowls and serve.

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