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Kale and White Bean Stew

In the winter we know most parts of the country are lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables that are at their peak. Well, Kale, a hardy, healthy winter green is grown in cold weather, so it is prime time for a neat Kale recipe. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and also rates high in the dark green leafy vegetable category that we always hear is so good for us. Kale is a source of several vitamins including, A, C, and K, it is high in antioxidants, calcium and fiber. We know all of these are helpful in keeping our immune system in balance and fighting off disease. Kale comes in several varieties including Curly Kale, Tuscan Kale and Red Kale. Keeping in mind that Kale has a strong, rich, flavor with an almost peppery kick, why not pair the below recipe with a light Sauvignon Blanc to offset the spicy flavor? This recipe is courtesy of the February Bon Appetit magazine and sounds great for a cold winter night. Try it tonight!

Kale and White Bean Stew
Makes 6 servings
1 ½ pounds kale leaves, center ribs and stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce can white beans (preferably organic) drained
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as tarragon, parsley, and chives)

Cook Kale in large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop kale. Heat Olive Oil in medium size pot over medium heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, shallots and garlic; cook until soft, stirring, about 15 minutes (do not brown vegetables). Add white wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 7 minutes. Add white beans, 4 cups broth, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Add Kale and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add more broth by ½ cupfuls to thin stew, if desired. Mix in Sherry wine vinegar and chopped fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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