Reminiscent of cassoulet, the traditional French country dish made with white beans, pork sausage and often duck confit that simmers for hours (sometimes days!), this simpler one-dish stew comes together in no time, but is still soul-satisfying!
White Bean, Barley and Sausage Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
- 4 fully-cooked spicy chicken sausages, such as Andouille, cut into bite-sized slices (9-12 ounces total)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, about 3 large cloves
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 to 4 cups chicken broth, preferrably low-sodium
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley
- 8 ounces Swiss chard (see note) 3 to 4 cups leaves, cut in 1/2-inch strips and 1 cup stems, cut in 1/4-in pieces
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (see note) or 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
- Lemon wedges and shredded Parmesan cheese for serving
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large (4-quart) pot. Add onion and carrots, and saute (cook while stirring occasionally) until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat to medium-low if onion is browning too quickly). Add sausage, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook until sausage begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beans, canned tomatoes, 3 cups broth, barley, Swiss chard stems and thyme; bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Swiss chard leaves and continue to cook, uncovered, until chard leaves are wilted and barley is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. If you like a more saucy stew, add up to a cup of additional chicken broth to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Good and gracious God, you call us to serve each other with a humble and joyful spirit. As we share this simple meal, show us how we can assist both those who call on us for help and others whose voices are harder to hear. Help us to bring hope and healing to our everyday world.