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Need to clean out your fridge? This white bean stew can help

Salami and kale bolster this creamy one-pot meal.
White bean stew with salami and kale [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
White bean stew with salami and kale [MICHELLE STARK | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 19
Updated Nov. 19

The last thing you need to be doing the week before Thanksgiving is cooking more than needed. One-pot meals? They are your friend. Dishes that require five or fewer ingredients? Yes, please.

You need something like this stew, a real “empty the fridge into a pot and see what happens” kind of recipe I came up with one recent Sunday while staring at four different kinds of veggies that were about to go bad.

The first: kale. You won’t find any kale snark here — I genuinely love the stuff. Equally good raw or crisped, I typically don’t reserve kale for stews because I enjoy it more in its other states. But by the time I had used this particular bunch in a salad and roasted it for a snack, it had begun to lose some of its life.

Leafy greens that are on the verge of turning but have not yet wilted entirely are perfect for adding to a hot pot of other ingredients. That decision led naturally to white beans (I had cannellini in my cupboard), the two ingredients paired often in classic Tuscan dishes.

This stew is built on a strong foundation: olive oil, some form of onion (I used shallots) and minced garlic. As I was stirring this trifecta, my eyes wandered to the log of salami I had just bought at the grocery store. Eh, why not?

Salami sizzling away, I thinly sliced another vegetable that was hours away from being unusable: Brussels sprouts. Cut in this way, the sprouts almost melted into the stew, adding more heft and nutrition without being too obtrusive.

Don’t skimp on the kale; an entire bunch will shrivel up to nearly nothing when added to the hot liquid. Do cut the pieces into sizes you want to eat, though. While the leaves will wilt and cook down, they won’t necessarily break apart. If you want kale pieces that will fit on your soup spoon, cut or tear the leaves with your hands (my preferred method) into appropriately sized pieces.

Serve this with a hunk of bread and lots of Parmesan cheese on the table and a bottle of wine, and soak up this quiet time before holiday mayhem is in full swing.

White Bean Stew With Salami and Kale

White bean stew with salami and kale [MICHELLE STARK | Tampa Bay Times]

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup finely diced salami

Handful of Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced

1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth or stock

2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

A couple of stalks kale, tough stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add the onion and cook until softer, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir, cooking for another minute or until quite fragrant. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Add salami and cook until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir often so the ingredients don’t brown too much. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until they have some color, too, about 5 minutes. Add more olive oil at any point if the pot becomes too dry.

Add chicken broth or stock to pot and turn heat up to high. Add beans. Stir to incorporate everything, then bring mixture to a boil. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, then cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Taste stew and adjust seasonings as needed. Add kale and cheese to pot and stir gently to mix. Cook over a low boil for another 5 minutes.

Divide stew among serving bowls, grate more Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

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