If you’re like most Calgarians, you rejoiced as the sun came out and the thermometer broke double digits. You pulled out your summer gear, came up with a get-bikini-ready routine, you may have even started dreaming of what you’ll plant in your garden. We’ve all made that mistake. It really is a foolish one; we ought to know better. Can we complain that it’s the beginning of April and there’s a fresh layer of snow on the ground? We could, but there isn’t much use.
Spring will come when it darn well pleases. But that doesn’t mean we have to be miserable about it. There are still great things to be whipped up in the kitchen; things that actually do best in cooler climates. Like kale! And stew is one heckuva way to keep toasty; it can take as little or as long as you like. This is the traditional, let the stew simmer method, but we’ll give you the quick tips too.
1 package Spanish Chorizo from Spragg’s Meat Shop
1-2 bunches fresh Organic Black Kale, 1 large sweet onion, 6 cloves garlic from Souto Farms
1 bag of tomatoes from Gull Valley Greenhouses
1 jar Stamp’s Great Northern Beans from Innisfail Growers
Olive Oil from La Cucina
Salt & Pepper
*You can substitute brown sugar, but turbinado sugar is generally less refined and can be purchased from your neighbourhood grocery store. Try to find a raw sugar that suits your taste buds.
First thing’s first, you need to soak the beans in water for 24 hours.
Then, cut the tomatoes into halves, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill them either in a pan, or when the blessed sun decides to show itself, enjoy grilling them on the BBQ. Grilling the tomatoes will do a couple of things: enhance the sweetness of the tomato and add a slightly charred flavour. Plus, removing the skins will be much easier, if that’s what you choose to do.
Then, with a little olive oil in a dutch oven (or good ol’ pot), sauté the onions and garlic until slightly golden. Add the Spanish Chorizo and break into smaller pieces.
Stir in the tomatoes and one cup of water. *You can use stock of any kind, though chicken or veggie stock is best. You can even use a good glug of wine at this point if your heart desires.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. If you want to kick up the heat, add 1 tablespoon of Ancho chili powder from The Silk Road Spice Merchant.
Add the beans and another 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and let stew until beans are soft. Approximately one hour; add water or stock as needed. *This is where you can decide if you want a slow stew or a fast. If you want to soften the beans before adding them to the stew, boil them in water until soft. If you’re in a pinch for time, use canned cannelini beans in place of the dried beans.
When the beans have sucked up most of the stock and have become nearly soft, add the kale that you’ve cut into half inch wide ribbons and simmer for another fifteen minutes, or until tender. Tip: try to cut the kale into even strips so that each bite will include tender greens instead of a mishmash of soft and chewy kale. And it looks pretty.
If you like your stew a little on the thicker side, mash some of the beans with a fork. Otherwise, serve with a toasted slice of artisan bread. Don’t forget the butter. Never forget the butter.