Katie's Healthy Bites: A Fall Sausage Stew
Fall is my favorite food time of the year. I absolutely love the warm, comforting flavors of winter squash and root vegetables. Butternut squash is often on our dinner table because its mild sweetness and creamy texture work well with many dishes.
This cassoulet, based off a traditional sausage-and-bean stew from France, features my beloved butternut squash. The squash provides loads of nutrients: beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber to name a few. Along with the beans, the chicken sausage packs a protein (and flavor) punch without going overboard on fat.
This one's not for a speedy weeknight meal, but you can get it on the table in an hour or so.
Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, White Bean and Chicken Sausage Cassoulet
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 links of pesto chicken sausage, raw
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (organic and low sodium preferred)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried sage, chopped
- 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans
- 1/2 cup whole-grain panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375° F. On the range, place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions slices and minced shallots to the pot. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add a pinch of salt to prevent browning.
In a separate pan, brown chicken sausage (3 to 5 minutes per side). Remove from pan, set aside and cool. The sausage doesn't need to be fully cooked as it will finish cooking in the oven. Once cool, slice sausage into 1-inch pieces.
After the onion is cooked through, turn off the heat. Add the sliced sausage, sweet potatoes, squash, broth, herbs and beans to the dutch oven with the onions and shallots. Mix together gently to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle evenly over squash mixture. Cover and bake in the oven at 375° for 30 minutes or until squash and potatoes are tender. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is browned.