Sausage and Kidney Bean Stew

I love beans. All kinds. I just do. The color, the texture, the taste. It adds something to a dish that makes me believe it couldn't exist without it.

For dinner I'll add beans to give my daughter something to eat since she will most likely pick the meat off. She has issues with meat being "too fatty", and not because she is dieting. It's a texture that she simply does not like. So while my son eats all the meat in a dish (with an occasional green item known as a vegetable), my daughter will scoop the beans.

This is a sausage and kidney bean stew that is served over rice. I've tried to serve it over quinoa, but I find the taste of the quinoa competes with the beans. Rice is a milder and complementary taste. I also use sofrito and homemade sazon seasoning mix, so it's got a Latino flare. But I would not call it habichuelas--that would be insulting to anyone who makes habichuelas!

1 lb Italian sweet sausage
1 1/2 cups dried kidney beans, soaked overnight
1/4 cup sofrito*
1 1/2 teaspoons homemade sazon**
1 cup water
3 cups chicken broth

Remove sausage from casing. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a soup pot and brown sausage meat, breaking it apart like ground beef. Add the sofrito and sazon and saute for one minute. Add kidney beans and saute for another minute. Add water and chicken broth. Once it begins to boil, lower flame to low simmer and cover pot. Let it slow cook for 2 hours.

Serve with rice. 

* I posted my recipe for sofrito a few weeks ago. And in this recipe I used one of my frozen Scotch sofrito cubes. I defrosted the cube a few hours before cooking. If I didn't have the time to defrost it properly, I would have placed it in the microwave and turned it on low for about 30 seconds. You don't want it to cook in the microwave--just loosen up.

** Sazon is a flavor package that can be bought at most grocery stores. I don't really like getting it because it contains MSG. You can find a fairly accurate recipe for it online. It's a mixture of black pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, and annatto (or something thereabouts). Just do a Google or Bing search for "homemade Sazon seasoning" and you'll find one that will suit your needs.