Sausages are great winter comfort food. Nothing better than ‘bangers’ ‘n mash with onion marmalade and a good gravy. I like them in all their guises – the circular Cumberland sausage from the UK, chorizo, merguez, kielbasa, Italian sausage and the lighter and less fatty chicken sausage. Better still it is relatively easy to find them gluten free. This hearty casserole uses an Italian chicken sausage with fennel and kale from my local supermarket but probably any sausage could be substituted though I would try and find a type that had some extra flavor like herbs or spices. It is a filling dish as it includes cannellini beans, red lentils and kale – a winter winner!
1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion – chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
2 rashers of bacon
1 pound of chicken sausage
2 sticks of celery – cut into 1 inch slices
2 carrots – cut into 1 inch slices
1 cup of chicken broth
1 can of cannellini beans
1/2 cup of uncooked red lentils
5 oz. baby kale
Heat the oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion. Let soften and brown slightly before adding the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes.
While the onion is cooking, in a separate frying pan, cook the bacon until nice and crisp, remove from pan and when cool enough cut it into thinnish strips.
Then, sear the sausages on all sides (this will add more flavor to the dish). Then cut into bite size pieces.
Add the celery and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a couple of minutes till they slightly brown, then add the bacon, sausage pieces, broth, cannellini beans, lentils and kale.
Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra broth if you need it but the casserole is meant to be thick rather than soupy.