Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slow cooker white bean and kielbasa stew

It was 11 o'clock on Monday morning, and I was at work.  My cell phone started buzzing; it was Matt, calling from home, on his day off.  Happy to take a break from staring at a computer screen, I answered, "Hi, dear!"

"Hi, lovely!" he said.
"How are you?"
"Good.  It smells like sausage in here.  What is it?  I want some."
"Oh, yeah.  That's tonight's dinner in the slow cooker.  It's bean and kielbasa stew."
"Can I have some?"
"Well, no.  It's not finished yet.  And it's for dinner."
"So?  Can I have some, please?"
"Honey, no.  Just... no.  Sorry, dear.  Your leftovers from dinner on Saturday are in the fridge.  You should have those."
"Boo.  Fine."

"So, what's up?" I asked, trying to change the subject.  "Oh, nothing.  I just wanted to know if I could have some of the sausage.  That's all.  Sorry to bother you at work," Matt said.  He wished me a good day and that was the end of the call.

While my dear, sweet, loving husband often calls just to say hi, this was not one of those calls.  This was an unadulterated foody call.  (That's the culinary version of a booty call, y'all.)  He only wanted me for my stew! ;)

And, after walking into the apartment and getting a whiff of our bubbling dinner, I couldn't blame him!  Home never smelled so good.

Garlic, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and kielbasa... give me a moment to catch my breath, please!  If it were possible to sustain oneself on air alone, I'd choose this air!  It was absolutely intoxicating

As soon as I dove headfirst spoon first into the gorgeous bowl of stew sitting on front of me, my brain could only formulate one thought: "Shutupshutupshutup!"  Alright, I'll admit it wasn't a particularly eloquent moment, but it was enough to fit the situation.  Plump beans, chewy sausage, tender baby spinach all nestled in a thick and smoky tomato broth.  You know this was TDF - to die for!

How could something so delicious and ripe with so many flavors come from a slow cooker?!  It didn't make sense!  Short of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I don't think I could've used less effort for this recipe.  Take 2 minutes to chop some stuff, toss said stuff in the pot, cover, turn on, and walk away.  The most laborious part of the process was the walking!

This was the first slow cooker recipe of sizzlin' slow cooker February and, boy, did it ever set the bar really, really high.  I don't know what I expected, but I certainly didn't expect this.  I definitely didn't expect to be preaching to you that this is the best stew I've ever had.  My new favorite stew.  I implore you -- make this stew, friends!

After dinner, my phone rang, and it was Matt calling on his way home from swim practice.

"Hi, honey!"
"So, I want you to do something for me.  I want you to think of the best stew you've ever had.  And then imagine something that tastes a thousand times better than that.  That is what's waiting for you at home for dinner."
"Sausage, sausage, sausage!  I can't wait."
"Okay, drive safely.  See you soon.  Love you!"

Do you know what I did there?  That's a good ol' fashioned food tease.  If Matt can foody call me, you better believe I'm going to taunt him when I get the chance.

One year ago: Asian salmon
Two years ago: Slow cooker short rib ragu
Three years ago: Portobello mushroom lasagna

Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew
(adapted from Real Simple's recipe)
-serves 6-8 (a serving size was listed as 1 1/2 cups)

A few notes: While it's not usually important what kind of broth you use in a soup, I think it's really important to get the low-sodium kind for this soup.  The sausage will have enough salt on its own that you won't need to add any additional seasoning, be it table salt or salt in the broth.  Also, I think this would freeze wonderfully; simply portion out servings into resealable 1 quart plastic bags and lay flat in freezer.  Thaw in fridge and reheat to serve.

1 pound dried white beans (I used navy)
14 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch thick moons
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
5 ounces (about 6 cups) baby spinach
Crusty bread, for serving

In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine beans, kielbasa, tomatoes and juice, onion, garlic, rosemary, broth, and 1 cup of water, stirring to mix.  Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours.  Just before serving, stir in the spinach to wilt.  Serve with bread.


  1. Tried this recipe last week and it's also a family favorite and so easy!

    - BR

  2. This may seem silly but I'm wondering, is there an additional 1 cup of water added to the recipe? It's missing from the ingredients list but in the directions. Side note: the broth is missing from the directions as well. This is smelling so good right now and it's only been on two hours...Can't wait for dinner time :)

    1. Thanks for catching this, Kim! There is 1 cup of water added, as mentioned in the directions. I did not list water in the ingredients initially because it's readily available but added it for clarification. Hope this helps! :)

    2. Thanks for sharing this recipe, my family LOVED it, even the picky 9yo. :)

    3. I'm so glad! I'm actually thinking of remaking this next week. Perfect weather for it!