Tuesday, August 25, 2015

White Bean Ragout with Smoked Sausage and Spinach

My brother-in-law is a chef in Denver.  Whenever we visit him we get to eat some of the best food around.  Not only does he feed us well, but he introduces us to his chef friends and takes us to all of Denver's hot spots.  One of our favorite places to eat is Z Cuisine.  It's a wonderful Parisian Bistro with an Absinthe Bar next door.  I'm not an Absinthe drinker but I did have the most refreshing drink there that I can only describe as a Grapefruit/St. Germaine Granita.  Seriously, if you're in the Denver area, check it out.  Growing up with a chef for an uncle has been great for Little Devil.  She's never been a picky eater, but when a guy you already think is really cool tells you to try something YOU TRY SOMETHING.  The last time we ate there she enjoyed Z Cassoulet de la Maison au confit de canard which translates to a duck dish, made with pork belly and sausage, cooked "andouille style" in a white bean ragout with wilted chard and kale.  Now I can't begin to pronounce, let alone cook anything like that but boy does is sound fancy and it tastes even better.  In homage to this dish at Z Cuisine I made this White Bean Ragout with Smoked Sausage and Spinach.  Which also sounds fancy but if you think of it as French Style Beenie Weenies then you can not only pronounce it, you can accomplish it.  I'm very proud of how it turned out, and next time my brother-in-law is home for a visit I'm going to make a pot for him!
I'm not a chef, but I think it turned out really good...
The Cannellini beans and spinach were a great
compliment to the hearty smoked sausage.

White Bean Ragout with Smoked Sausage and Spinach
inspired by It's My Side of Life and Z Cuisine

4 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
1 pound good quality smoked sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cans Cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large package spinach leaves
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, bring the chicken broth and garlic to a simmer.  Meanwhile in a separate skillet, cook the sausages on all sides.  Remove from skillet and slice into 1-inch pieces.  Add to chicken broth, along with any drippings from the skillet.  Add oregano and beans to the broth mixture.  Add tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered about 30 minutes.  Add spinach and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted.  This will only take a few minutes.  Check for seasoning and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper if necessary.  Serve with crusty bread and enjoy. 

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