It was a hectic day. Schedules were all over the place, my husband had meetings, I had grades to get in, and the kids were going bananas. The house was a sty, but let’s be honest, that’s usually the case. It was one of the days when I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Forget it! We’re getting pizza!” Because once I say the word “pizza” in my house, there’s no going back. Even the toddler knows what that is and it’s one of the few things she’ll actually eat.
But I knew that pizza wasn’t the answer, as much as I wanted it to be. I had about 30 minutes before supper; I could make something quickly.
That’s when this recipe was born: out of sheer desperation and frazzled luck.
I happened to have three main ingredients on hand: Italian sausage (turkey), sweet potatoes, and kale.
I’d watched enough of “Lidia’s Italy” to know that Italian sausage and dark greens go well together. I just decided instead of using pasta, I’d use sweet potatoes. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.
The first thing to do is get everything ready: “Mise en place”. That’s right, I watch the Food Network sometimes. I loath peeling potatoes, but sweet potatoes have a rather tough skin, and I don’t really feel like battling with my children over potato skins at dinner. I like to peel and dice potatoes into about half inch cubes and set aside. I do it first because it is a little time consuming and once everything gets going, I don’t want to waste time. I also diced up an onion and peeled two garlic cloves. (Be sure to bust out your old swimming goggles for that onion, unless you want your children to ask, “Why are you crying?”)
Once the potatoes are set up, get out the ole (enamel-coated) cast iron dutch oven, heat it up, and drizzle some olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and a pinch of salt to let them soften and sweat. I’ll grate in two garlic cloves (or mince them, whatever) and add a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you’re using hot Italian sausage, you could skip the red pepper.
Get those things fragrant, then add the sausage. You can either use links that you removed the casing, or just the ground sausage will do. You could also make your own, but I was in a rush. Brown it up, and if you notice a lot of fat, drain some off.
Add the cubed sweet potatoes and give a stir. Let the sausage and sweet potatoes get to know each other a little, and add the wine, scraping off any bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan. If it’s been a really stressful day, pour yourself a glass and take a sip. Then smell the wonderful fragrance of wine mixed with the onions, garlic and sausage. Heavenly. See, life can be good, even if your children are wrestling in the background, causing your end table to topple over and your lamp to break. It’s just fine.
Let the alcohol cook off before you add the chicken stock. Give another stir, and then cover, reduce heat and let sit for 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, wash the kale and partially dry. It doesn’t matter is the kale still has some moisture on it; that’ll just help steam it and make it tender.
After about 15 minutes, add the kale with a little salt and a dash of nutmeg. Cover to let the kale wilt a little before you stir, otherwise you have kale all over your stove top.
Cook covered, until the potatoes are soft and the kale is wilted and tender, but still bright green. Serve, garnished with a grate or two of fresh Parmesan and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
Then sit down with your precious family and enjoy the few moments of quiet you have before the chaos of bedtime ensues. The crazy life we live is worth every insane moment.
Sausage, Kale, and Sweet Potato Hash
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, pressed or grated
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 and 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (turkey or pork)
- 1 large bunch kale washed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Dash of nutmeg
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Chopped fresh parsly
- salt and pepper
Heat a large cast iron dutch oven over medium high heat. Drizzle in olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add diced onion with a pinch of salt and sweat. Once, onions are soft, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.
Remove any casings from sausage. Add sausage to pot and brown, stirring occasionally. Once sausage is cooked, add in sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt. Pour in wine and deglaze pan, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pot. When the alcohol has cooked off, add chicken stock, stir and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash and chop kale, and partially dry. When the potatoes are slightly softened, add kale to pot with salt and a dash of nutmeg. Stir together and cooked until kale is tender and potatoes are soft. About 5 minutes more.
Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.