This French County Stew took me by surprise. Not that I didn’t expect it to be good…but that it was sooooo good I couldn’t get enough of it! Neither did all the people I served it to. I made it for the first time at a demo at Williams Sonoma in Danbury CT and I served it to tons of people. The aroma from the onions sprinkled with sea salt and herbs de Provence was enough to bring hoards through the door. And the croutons in the stew absorbing all the broth and flavors made it a meal in itself. I made it on the fly inspired by a recipe I’d seen somewhere on the internet but I hadn’t written a recipe for it. But after promising a recipe to many of those who sampled this I figured I’d better get to work.
I was planning on making it again before posting the recipe so I could get better photos. Photos simply are not terrific taken under fluorescent lights…but I’m afraid I’m waiting to make this again until I visit my son, his wife and new baby because not only do I know they’ll love it…but I want to fill their home with the intoxicating aromas that come from this stew. So for now…these photos will have to do.
1 lb. (453.6 g) sausage meat – I used sweet Italian
8 oz. (226.8) chopped collard greens – or kale
29 oz (822 g) can of white cannellini beans
1 8 oz package of shredded mozzarella
1 medium loaf of day old french bread – diced into half inch cubes
1 quart chicken broth – or to your liking
1 medium onion – diced
1/2 cup (118) extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence – or thereabouts
pinch of sea salt – I used an amazing product from Williams Sonoma that mixed sea salt with herbs de Provence
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pot. Heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, sprinkle with sea salt and herbs and cook until they soften. About 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the sausage and brown on all sides.
In the meantime sprinkle diced bread with remaining oil (or just enough to lightly coat the bread) add salt and herbs and mix until well coated. Bake in a 375 degree (190.5 C) oven for about 10 minutes or just until crisp and golden and remove from the oven and add to the soup pot.
Spinkle the ingredients in the pot with half the cheese. Add the beans, the greens and the broth. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the soup thickens and the greens are tender.
Add more broth if needed. Check the seasonings. Sprinkle more cheese in the pot, stir and serve. Sprinkle more cheese on each plate if desired.
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