I know, I know. Not particularly Instagram ready, is it?
I can’t tell you how much I wish that there was something I could do to make this mess look beautiful, to represent just how really delicious it is! To draw you in so that you say….”I am going to make THAT tonight, and that is all there is.” To get you all fired up. Because I gotta tell you, it is just so good.
Sadly, it’s just not “that” kind of dinner (food porn addicts, I apologize), so put aside your shallow Hal-ness for this one moment and get out your crock pot! This stew has a surprising depth of flavor considering the simplicity of its components (pretty much just five ingredients – yay!) and it is hearty and earthy and really nice to come home to, especially when it’s cold outside. Plus it is a snap to pull together! I call it a really ugly bowl of super easy, one pot wonder, stick to your ribs goodness!
Now THAT, my hungry friends, is truly something to behold.
Start with a 1 lb package of uncooked sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage but you can use whatever kind you like) and break it up a little into your crock pot (don’t worry too much about this since once it’s cooked it crumbles apart easily with a quick smash/stir). Then just start tossing things into the pool! I like the Hunt’s brand of fire roasted tomatoes, so I used two 16 oz cans. You can use one 28 oz can of whatever diced tomatoes you prefer.
I sloshed both of those in along with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (put the remainder from your can into a zip lock baggie and pop it in the freezer for future use – no waste!), a finely chopped medium yellow onion, and 1 finely chopped garlic clove. Finish this off with a cup of water, a grind or two of cracked black pepper and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt.
Those potatoes you see? I gave them a good scrub down and barely peeled em (just the weird knotty stuff), and cut them in half. Then I nestled them down into that pool of lycopene love. Hot tub party!
Now this is pretty, yes? Swiss chard is a leafy green that I am generally unfamiliar with…but what I do know, is that like it’s cousin kale you must strip the leaves from their tough and fibrous stems. Unless of course you have the mastication chops of a dairy cow (and a double stomach to go with them). It’s a simple process, and will take you all of five minutes. Always make sure you wash your greens really well before you do anything else with them. Gritty greens = no bueno.
Now take your greens and after giving them a very rough chop (what you end up with seems like A LOT), pile them on top of your stew until you have got them busting out from the seams! I have done this with a much smaller slow cooker and they always cook right on down, so don’t worry about how much you think you have going on there.
Now put the lid on and let it do its thang! This can chug away for eight hours on low or if you’re in a hurry…..(um…..which is sort of incongruent with a S L O W cooker), put it on high for four hours. You will end up. . . with this…..
Photo got a little steamy there! Now gently fish out those potatoes and place them into a bowl that you have at the ready…..
and smoosh those babies up.
Add some milk (maybe 1/2 cup? maybe more, you’ll know as you go) a pat or two of butter, some salt and pepper and squash em up with a hand-held potato masher. DO NOT use an electric mixer, or a food processor, or anything else like that, as tempting as it may be. The fast action of any of those “blades” will cause your potatoes to release their starch and basically turn into stretchy wall paper paste. True story. (Sad story) So, get out your muscles and mash em up by hand! Serve the stew over a nice helping of the potatoes. You can drizzle it with a bit of olive oil if you like, and dig in.
Pretty? Well, admittedly no.
Just pretty AMAZING!
The Recipe Below makes plenty for four servings plus leftovers:
- 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 28 ounce can (or two 16 ounce cans) fire roasted chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 large russet, (baking) potatoes, well scrubbed and cut in half
- 1 cup of water
- 1 bunch of swiss chard, cleaned and stemmed and roughly chopped
- For the Mashers
- 1/2 cup of milk (approximately)
- 2 pats (tablespoons) of butter
- Kosher salt and Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Break up the sausage as best as you can and place it into your crock pot.
- Add the chopped onion, chopped garlic, can(s) of tomatoes and the tomato paste and water, a generous pinch of kosher salt and a grind or two of the black pepper.
- Snuggle the potatoes down into the liquid as best as you can. You may not be able to submerge them entirely and that is fine.
- Lay the chopped greens over everything (do not stir) and cover.
- Let this cook for 8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.
- Gently remove the potatoes from the pot and transfer to a medium sized bowl.
- With a hand masher, mash the potatoes with the milk and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1/2 cup or so of the mashed potatoes to a soup bowl.
- Ladle over a generous serving of the chard and sausage stew. Be sure to break up the sausage a little first.
- Dig in!