Tuscan Stew with Chickpeas and Squash
1 pound loose Italian sausage (or ground pork w/ 1/2 tsp chili flake, 1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne, salt and pepper mixed in)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 leek, sliced, dark green part removed
1 carrot, diced
2 cups diced & peeled butternut squash, red kuri squash, or sweet potato
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
4-5 cups broth (chicken, vegetable, or beef)
2 cups torn kale (about 1 bunch)
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot (minimum 4 qt) over medium-high heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sear the sausage. Break it up as it cooks and don’t stir too often so it can get some color on it. When just cooked through, remove from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside, keep the fat in the pan.
2. Lower to medium heat. Add the additional 1 Tbsp olive oil if needed. Add the onion, leeks, and carrot to the pot, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onion is softened and there is some light browning. Add the squash and chickpeas and cover with broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, half covered, at a slight simmer for about 45 minutes.
3. Add the sausage back into the pot and simmer another 20 minutes. Season as needed and check to insure the squash is cooked through. Add the kale to the pot just before serving or storing - make sure the burner is off and let it wilt just slightly with the lid on.
4. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, some grated cheese, a grind of black pepper and toasted bread!