Italian Sausage, Kale and Brown Rice Stew

This is the perfect fall recipe for those cold, cloudy days that you realize you need to actually dig out your jackets and sweaters to wear to work. Those days where you refuse to get out of bed until you absolutely have to, because you can already feel the coldness in your bones when you peak your head out over the covers. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes those days are nice, lazy days – but I’d much rather spend them in sweat pants, hoodies and fluffy socks instead of slacks and actually making my hair look presentable. This recipe came around on one of those days, wind gusting and all. John got his wisdom teeth pulled, so we’ve been living off of Malt o Meal and soup for the past couple weeks. I have made a variation to this recipe last year, but I wanted to throw in some things that would get soft enough for John to be able to eat and also boost his immune system ( thank you, kale ).

Crock Pots – where do we begin? Lifesavers. Especially when you are on the run and need something ready for dinner time. Or, sometimes you just can beat that low and slow cooking method to get your food nice and tender. Sometimes there’s nothing better then getting home on one of those cold, dreary days, unlocking uour front door and immediately having an aroma of warm and delicious stew wafting over you. You know what I’m talking about.

So, here it is. Italian sausage, kale and brown rice stew. Feel free to use any variations that you may like. I chose mild sausage, but you can turn up the volume and go with hot for an extra kick. I also found myself wanting more kale in each spoonful, so don’t be afraid to add more than what it is listed. It is a leafy veggie, so it will wilt down quite a bit. The glory of Crock Pots is also that you can adjust the cooking time and temp to best fit your schedule. Short on time? Run it on high for a shorter period of time, or if you have all day let it go low and slow. Just make sure the sausage is cooked through and your rice is fluffy. The sausage can either be cooked whole, and then cut into rounds before serving – or cut into rounds when it is raw and then cooked. Either way, the sausage cooking down with all the other ingredients makes the broth nice and velvety. Serve with crispy bread, and Parmesan cheese.

I got to enjoy the tail end of the stew, because a few guys dug into it before I got to witness it in all its glory. The broth is worth it, I promise you. The men folk just decided to eat all of it 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 32oz container chicken stock/broth
  • 1 28oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package Italian sausage links (approx 5 links)
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pour the tomatoes into the bottom of the Crock Pot dish.
  2. Spread an even layer of brown rice and kale over the tomatoes.
  3. Add in the sausage (whole or sliced)
  4. Pour the chicken stock over all the ingredients until covered.
  5. Add in the bay leaf and a moderate amount of salt and pepper. Stir all the ingredients to combine equally.
  6. Cook on high for 2 hours and then reduce to low for 2-3 hours until sausage is cooked through and rice is fluffy.
  7. Enjoy.