Kale and spicy sausage is an excellent duo, and with my garden now coming along it is time for more recipes which use leafy greens. What makes this recipe different is the texture contrast between the pillowy polenta and the crispy potatoes – an extra step but worth the time. This recipe may seem to have many components, but if you are comfortable tending to a few pots at once you can easily have this on the table in 45 minutes.
Polenta with Italian Sausage, Kale, Tomatoes and Crispy Potatoes(serves 2)
Before you start, make sure you have already parboiled the potato. You should be able to simultaneously cook your "sauce", fry your potato and cook your polenta if you are organized, this will drastically reduce the time it takes to put this on the table, and in your belly.
Put a medium saucepan on your stove and add the chicken stock or water, turn on high and bring to a simmer.
In the meantime, heat a medium skillet to medium heat, and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble it into the pan. Brown on all sides.
While the sausage is browning, check on your simmering liquid, once it comes up to a summer, slowly whisk in the cornmeal and a pinch of salt. You want to cook the polenta at a gentle simmer and stir regularly, so keep a watchful eye on it, scraping down the sides of the pan every time you stir.
Grab a small frying pan and put it on medium heat. Dice your potato into 1 cm sized chunks. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the potato to your pan. Fry the potato until crispy on all sides, once crisp drain on paper towels, and then transfer to a rack to keep crisp.
When the sausage is browned on all sides, add the onion, and the chili flakes to the pan, stir regularly until the onion is soft then add the garlic. Allow the garlic to cook for one minute, then add the kale and a pinch of salt. Stir the kale to cook it down, you can also place a lid on the pot to let it steam which will force it to wilt faster. Once wilted, stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer the mixture until the sausage is cooked through, and the kale is tender. Taste and correct with salt and pepper before serving. This can simmer gently on low while other things finish if needed.
Continue tasting the polenta until there is no feel of grit in your mouth, if you find you need to add more water, you can do so a 1/2 cup at a time. When it is nice and soft, turn the heat down to low and add a tablespoon of butter and the grated cheese. Also taste and correct for seasoning.
Serve the polenta in bowls topped with the sausage stew and the crispy potato along with the parsley to garnish it.