It is the time of year that calls for us to pull out our slowcookers and make hearty stews of tender meats and vegetables. I had a wonderful reader say what she loves about the growing season is that it starts and ends with greens. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think that I even had kale until I was in my thirties, but I have grow to just love it. The heartiness in it’s texture calls for it to be cooked for a period of time. Outrageously good for you and super filling. I love incorporating it in our meals. My youngest son does not like spinach ever, but loves kale. He says that spinach makes him gag. I still make him try it now and then.
This chicken, sausage & kale dish can feed an army for a reasonable price. I put everything into the slow cooker in the morning and then at dinner time cooked up some pasta to add in. It was done that easy. This is bowl of love and would not have any hesitation in serving this to my quests.
My favorite way to flavor kale is to add a piece of smokey meat and some wine while it simmers. I am lucky I have a super market close to me that always has smoked turkey legs and necks available at a great price. I like to use ham hocks as well, but use the turkey necks more often to reduce my cholesteral a bit. I am always shocked how much meat I get off the turkey necks. They add flavor and meat. Hearty, hearty goodness. YUM.
In the morning:
Brown the outer layer of six chicken thighs, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. I usually get skinless to cut the saturated fat. Remember browning adds flavor to any dish.
Brown the outer layer of six sausages of your choice.
Start layering in slow-cooker:
one bunch of kale, cleaned, de-stemmed & finely chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
6 gloves of garlic
smoked turkey neck
1 t. red pepper flakes
second bunch of kale, cleaned, de-stemmed & finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
Cover and set slow-cooker for 6 hours or longer.
20 minutes before eating:
Bring a pan of water to boil to cook pasta. Make sure to have plenty of salt in the water. This is the only time your pasta can get seasoned. Cook 1 lb. of pasta to al dente.
While cooking pasta, stir kale in the slow-cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings while pulling out the smoky necks on a plate. The smoky necks do add an amount of sodium, so I like to only add at this stage, if necessary. Let necks cool for a bit and then pull meat off the bones and return the meat to the slow-cooker.
After you drain noodles, stir into the slow-cooker. Then serve. This is also great to set up on a buffet as well and let people help themselves.
Pull out your slow-cooker or pull up a chair, Elizabeth