Have you had escarole before? It looks like this.
Oooh. Blurry. I'd hate for you to get too used to decent pictures.
As you can see, it looks a lot like a head of lettuce, but you can use it like any green you would cook with, and has a great, mild flavor. So for those of you who find kale a bit too... well... kale-like, try escarole instead. If you can find it, that is. I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I was in my new grocery store, which seems to have everything I could want, except escarole. There wasn't a leaf of escarole anywhere. It was a good thing that A. was driving TM and P. to Evanston so they could go on the mission trip, because she was able to stop by my old store and pick-up a couple of heads for me.
Tonight we had it in a dish I've made for years, and cannot even remember where I first found it: Escarole with Italian Sausage and White Beans. It is also pretty darn popular around here, with nearly everyone eating all of it, and most people having seconds. That is no small feat when feeding this many children. They even helped to fix dinner.
L. chopping the escarole
K. started chopping the onions, but had to abandon it due to how they were affecting his eyes.
H. took over.
Here's the final product.
A few housekeeping notes. The whole month will not be filled with detail food and recipe posts, but I will note on the bottom of each post what we ate, what vegetable(s) we used, and keep a running tally of monthly vegetable use. If it was a particularly good recipe, I will also share it, or at least share where to find it. I will also ask for readers to share their own totals at the end of the month, for those joining in. Yes, I realize that involves actually using the comment function, but I have bouts of optimism.
Now, on to the recipe.
Escarole with Italian Sausage and White Beans
Serves 6 (I usually double it, and then serve it with bread to fill in any gaps)
~1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed if that's how it came (I use a mixture of both mild and hot)
1 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. deli-style ham (it's supposed to be prosciutto, but who can afford that?) sliced into strips
1 TBSP minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (I might use a bit more)
1 large head escarole, chopped
3/4 C. dry white wine
~6 C. cooked small white beans (I like Navy beans for this, thought Great Northern would work, too. Oh, and that's 4-15oz cans of beans for those who don't cook your own)
1 C. chicken stock
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up. If you are using a non-stick pan, you don't need to add any oil in first, if you know it will stick, add some olive oil first. Saute until cooked through and transfer to a bowl.
If you have enough fat to saute onions, go ahead and start cooking them in the same pan you cooked the sausage. If not, add some olive oil first. Cook until they are translucent. Add the ham, saute for a minute, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for another minute, then start to add the escarole. It may not all fit at once, but cooks down quickly. When it is wilted, add the white beans, stock, and wine. Simmer for ~10 minutes.
Serve with grated Parmesan on top.
Escarole - 1
Onions - 1
Beans (Navy) - 1