I met Dennis my butcher in 1995, we have an amazing relationship and I have not strayed from Carl’s Meat Market since the day we met. From the crazy requests like “can you put those cute little caps on my crown roast of pork?” to “exactly what did they feed the organic cow that makes it Prime Organic vs Organic?” he’s always been patient, informative, funny and most of all honest.
Today, I wanted Chorizo Sausage. Not any old Chorizo, but Spanish (not too spicy but enough kick to make you want more – you know that flavor, you have to try it one more time, it just keeps calling you back). I also wanted the sausage without casing. If you have had any of the dishes I prepare, you know I am disgusted by sausage casing. It repulses me, and if I am forced to cook sausage with it casing, I will painstakingly remove the meat from the casing and toss it away.
Funny side note, today, when checking out at Carl’s, a new young man waited on me (this was after a very long discussion on the various types of Chorizo Sausage Dennis and I had – a bystander would have thought we were in the process of solving the world debt crisis, when in fact we were simply discussing the different nuances this particular sausage has). The young man held up my order and the conversation went like this.
Man: “Is this all? What else do you need?”
Me: “Nope that’s it.”
Man: “Really, that’s it?”
Me: “Oh you’re new.”
Dennis: “she’s a daily shopper, get used to her face.” (Hope that was a good – get used to her face)
And there it was. I channel my old soul, my grandmother. I shop every day. No matter what the season. No matter where we are. I shop every day. I don’t pre-plan meals for the week. I plan them every day. Why? Because on Sunday, I have no idea what the family will feel like on Wednesday. What the dynamic will be. What the weather will be. I channel my grandmother because she was an amazing cook, and if you asked her in the morning what she was making for dinner (something that m kids drive me nuts over), she never knew, and rarely do I (exceptions are holidays and parties – and even then I switch it up a lot). I think I love cooking so much because of the foundation my grandmother and her Italian heritage gave me; as well as my mother (who is as Irish as it gets) and her attempts to please my grandmother by cooking HER “gourmet” food. These principals were ingrained in me. I look to cook. I love to create. I am not a baker, there’s a huge difference. Some chefs like Leslie Myers (http://www.foodsensenow.com/) can do both. That kind of creativity is beyond me, but I aspire to cook and bake like Leslie someday.
So back to the Chorizo Sausage and the amazing Winter Stew…..
Ingredients (all items used were organic and gluten free)
- 2 parsnips – chopped fine
- 4 carrots – chopped fine
- 1 large white onion – chopped fine
- 2 stalks of celery – chopped fine
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 pounds Spanish Chorizo Sausage (casing free)
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 carton of vegetable broth
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 can small white beans drained and rinsed
- 4 cups purple kale (torn into small pieces)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano-Reggiano for topping
- In a large pot sautee the first 6 ingredients together for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender
- Add the tomato paste and stir
- Once combined add tomatoes and vegetable broth
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes
- While stew is simmering, in a separate cast iron skillet brown the sausage (you do not need any oil if you are using a “seasoned” skillet)
- Once browned, add sausage (including oil from the cooked meat), cooked brown rice, beans and kale to stew
- Simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until kale is tender
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano