03 October 2012

Turkey Kielbasa & White Bean Rice Bowl

On an unexpectedly chilly day in early fall, our refrigerator was unprepared to satisfy my craving for a cozy, warm dinner.  Thankfully, I have a shamefully overstocked pantry that was ripe for the plucking.  We always have canned beans, onions and rice in plentiful supply.  After a bit of digging, chopping and stirring, out came this Turkey Kielbasa & White Bean Rice Bowl.  Totally hit the cozy spot.  While the hubs and I both thought the dish was very tasty, we weren't sure it was good enough to be considered blog-able.   It was only after we ran out of leftovers two days later that the realization hit us...we loved this dish!  Though gone from our refrigerator, we were haunted my food memories for weeks.  Any recipe that is that unforgettable is one that must not only be kept, but also shared.  Truly, a case of leftovers at their finest.

The craving is pretty bad right now.  So bad, I am considering a mid-week grocery run for Great Northern beans and turkey kielbasa just so I can eat it a bit sooner.  And yes, I said turkey kielbasa...as in not sausage.  When I originally saw this ingredient at the market, I had to do a double take.  I was a bit dubious, so say the least.  But after comparing the nutritional content to regular kielbasa, I thought it was at least worth a shot.  Officially, we have converted to Team Turkey.  It has all of that savory, smokey flavor of your traditional kielbasa with literally half of the fat.  Winner winner turkey dinner.

Now as soon as fall rolls around, I start craving beans.  Black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils...I love and adore them all.  Plentiful in protein and fiber, these little nuggets are nature's delicious gift to us.  In the back of that cobwebbed lonely pantry, I found a dusty can of Great Northern beans.  I had purchased the can several months earlier strictly because they were new to me.  And honestly, I now wonder why I haven't always used them in my cooking.  Rather than a big flavor of their own, they absorb the flavors of whatever other delicious ingredients you happen to be cooking them with.  The end result is this fabulously meaty augmentation to the flavors already happening on your plate.  Extra delicious little nuggets.

The hubs and I both love the little kick a bit of fresh jalapeno provides the savory kielbasa and beans.  And while this recipe calls for a whole one, please do not run away in heat-induced fear.  The spice in the end result is negligible thanks to all the rice, beans and kale.  All you're left with is the pepper's wonderful flavor and wee bit of heat.  

Plus, it's just so pretty.  The vibrant greens and rosy kielbasa pop beautifully amongst the neutral beans and rice for a truly eye pleasing entrée.  And like all fall dishes, it is even better reheated the next day.  The hubs liked it best when topped with scrambled eggs as a morning meal...go figure!  Breakfast, lunch and dinner...that's a winner.

Kielbasa & White Bean Rice Bowl (4 servings)

  • 1/2 c brown rice
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • pepper, to taste 
  • 2 c kale
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz turkey Kielbasa
  • 1/3 dry white wine (we used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
Wash the rice well, then combine in a medium saucepan with the vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, until rice is tender and all liquid has evaporated.

While the rice cooks, prep the rest of your ingredients.  Chop the onions, rinse your beans, slice your Kielbasa and finely chop both the garlic and jalapeno.  When your rice is about 20 minutes out, place a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the oil and roll the pan to distribute and warm.  Add the onions and cook for 5-6 minutes until tender and starting to brown.  Add the garlic and jalapeno, mix together and let cook for 30 seconds.  Then add the kale and drained beans, seasoning with black pepper.  You do not need to add extra salt as there is plenty in the kielbasa and beans.  Cook for 5-6 minutes until the kale is wilted.  Remove to a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the pan back on the burner and jack the heat up to medium-high.  Give it a minute, then add the sliced kielbasa.  Cook for 5-6 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally, until well browned on both sides.  Carefully add the white wine to the pan and scrape gently with a wooden spoon to deglaze.  Once the cooked on bits are released, add back the bean mixture.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until the beans are reheated and the majority of the wine is absorbed.

For the plating seen here, fill a 1/3 measuring cup with the cooked rice and pack it well.  Invert into the center of a large plate.  With the same measuring cup, scoop the kielbasa and beans around the rice, about 2-3 scoops.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.  If you're feeling less fancy, just throw some rice on a plate and top with the kielbasa and beans.  Enjoy with a good beer.

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