For date night last week we went to one of our favorite places here in Chicago, Osteria Langhe where we ate an amazing contorno of escarole and spicy sausage with olives and cherry tomatoes. It was really really really really good. By now you can guess what Cheryl said. ‘You can make this with one of your sausages, can’t you?’
I didn’t intend to recreate it this week, but I was reminded of the simple request while shopping on Monday. I noticed escarole looked good and there were big full heads of them so I bought one. While trying to remember the main ingredients from last week I began thinking about what flavor profile I’d like to create and what I had at home. Instead of a spicy sausage I put in a new sausage I came up with, called duck a l’orange. Yes, duck sausage. And it tastes exactly like it sounds with nice bits of sweet orange in it. I thought it would be a good counter to the bitterness of the escarole. Additionally, I used sun dried tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes for a more concentrated sweetness to balance out the tangy olives. Everything played extremely well together.
Since I was making the escarole and sausage as more of a secondo than a contorno it needed more volume. This was easily accomplished by adding one of my favorite fillers: beans. They also get along with sausage pretty well. I thought I had a bag of white beans in the pantry, but alas, since we haven’t been doing much cooking my mental inventory was off. Only had a bag of black beans. Not the color I was going for but the black beans added a nice earthy flavor. A little drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon for acid really made everything pop.
Other than pre-cooking the beans this dish took less than 30 minutes to put together. But for a really quick weeknight dinner I won’t scold you if you opted to use canned beans. Also, there were NO leftovers. Best of all it felt really good to be getting back into a creative mode in the kitchen.
NB – The counter-top was installed yesterday! All that’s left now is the finishing bit of tiling and grout. Fells so good to be so close to the end of the process.
Escarole with Duck Sausage
- 1 large bunch of escarole, cleaned and chopped
- 1 ½ C cooked black (or white) beans
- 1 shallot, minced
- 12 oz duck sausage, cut into pieces.
- ½ C green olives, halved
- ½ C sun-dried tomatoes, minced
- ½ C White wine
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil (GOOD olive oil, you know, that special one in your cupboard)
- Lemon wedge
Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat on the stove. Add the sausage pieces and brown.
Stir in the shallots. When they begin to brown add ¼ C of the wine and de-glaze the pan, scraping up the bits.
Add the escarole in batches, folding in each added handful and stir around until it starts to wilt.
Stir in the sun dried tomatoes, cooked beans, and olive halves. Cook for a minute making sure they’re heated through.
Remove from stove, season with salt and pepper. Finish by drizzling with olive oil and squeezing a lemon wedge on top.