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Eric Akis: Sausage supper a hearty one-pan wonder

Here’s a comforting supper of tomatoey sausages, beans and kale all cooked in a skillet on the stovetop.
A hearty meal of Mediterranean-style sausages, beans and kale cooked in a skillet. ERIC AKIS

In you’re in the mood for a humble, hearty supper cooked in one pan on the stovetop, I have one for you to try.

You begin making it by searing fresh sausages, which could be chorizo, Italian or other southern European-style type, in hot olive oil in a cast iron or other sturdy skillet. When the sausages are nicely browned, but not cooked through yet, you transfer them to a plate.

The skillet is set back on the stove and you then cook diced onions and green bell peppers in it. When they are tender, flavourings, such as minced garlic, oregano, smoked paprika and pepper flakes, are mixed in and heated a short while, allowing their flavours to bloom.

The next step is to mix in some canned, diced tomatoes, chicken stock and drained, canned cannellini beans, which are also called white kidney beans. The mixture in the skillet is then simmered five minutes, and then chopped kale is stirred in.

The sausages are then nestled on top of the tomato/bean mixture and everything is simmered 10 minutes longer, until the sausages are fully cooked and have infused their flavour into the tomato/bean mixture.

When done, you have a bubbling, comforting skillet of sausages and saucy beans you could make a tasty meal of by serving it with crusty bread and a side salad, such as a green salad, or a Caesar salad.

Skillet Sausage Supper with Beans and Kale

Here’s a comforting supper of tomatoey sausages, beans and kale all cooked in a skillet on the stovetop.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

Makes: four servings

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 to 8 fresh chorizo, Italian or other southern European-style sausages, patted dry (see Note)

1/2 medium onion, diced

1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika

• pinch red pepper flakes

1 (14 oz./398 mL) can diced tomatoes

1 (19 oz./540 mL) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained well, rinsed, and drained well again

1 1/4 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)

1 cup chopped, packed, fresh green kale leaves

Set a 10-inch cast iron or other sturdy, similar sized skillet over medium, medium-high heat. Pour in the oil. When oil is hot, add sausages and sear until nicely browned, about three minutes per side. Transfer sausages to a plate.

Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the oil/fat in the skillet. Set back over medium, medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, paprika and pepper flakes and cook one minute more.

Add the tomatoes, beans and stock to the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Lower heat as needed to maintain that gentle simmer. Simmer tomato/bean mixture, uncovered, five minutes, and then taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Mix the kale into the tomato/bean mixture. Add a bit more stock to skillet, if you want the mixture to be saucier. Nestle the sausages on top of the tomato/bean mixture. Cover and simmer five minutes. Now uncover sausages, simmer five minutes more, and then serve.

Note: Sausages can vary in size from maker to maker, why I given a range of how many to use in this recipe. If the sausages are small to medium in size, you might want to serve one and half to two sausages per persons. If very large, one sausage per person should suffice. When buying sausages for this dish or any other one calling for them, opt for quality, locally made ones. They are sold at some local butcher shops, where they are crafted with care, right in house. You’ll also find them at some smaller grocery/food stores stocking locally made food products.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.