Fresh and flavorful escarole gets cooked to perfection with spicy sausage and an intense amount of white beans. This brothy stew pairs perfectly with a glass of red wine for a cozy night at home.
For me, this is the epitome of healthy comfort food. There’s lots of veggies and protein, without the rich components of many of my go-to comfort foods like mac and cheese. For the ultimate comfort, be sure to serve this escarole recipe with a side of crunchy baguette.
Last year I started consciously trying to add more beans to my diet. I listened to a podcast that talked about the populations in the world with the greatest life expectancies. These groups of people had a few things in common, one of which was a diet focused on beans and legumes. Other fascinating highlights included multi-story living (mandatory activity), a focus on elders as mentors, and the role of elders in the care of young children.
What is Escarole
Escarole (es-ka-roll) is a bitter leafy green that is great both raw and cooked. It becomes seasonally available in New Jersey during the late spring and continues to grow into the winter.
It looks like a shorter, frilly head of romaine but you won’t mix the two up once you taste them. The bitter flavor of escarole is perfect for pairing with fats like cheeses, oil, and sausage. This recipe utilizes them all.
Escarole with Sausage and White Beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/3 pounds mild Italian sausage links cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 cans great northern beans, drained 15 oz
- 2 cans small white beans in their liquid 15 oz
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 8 cups escarole chopped
- Parmesan for serving
- Heat the oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown all over, about 15 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer the browned sausages to a plate, leaving the liquid in the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic, and cook, stirring, only until fragrant. About 30 seconds.
- Add beans and increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add sausages, parsley, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the stock and escarole and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until thickened slightly, about 1 hour. Serve with grated parmesan.