I recently made a game for myself. It’s purpose is to challenge my creativity when it comes to developing recipes. I made a jar full of strips of paper that either have an ingredient or a type of food written on them. The game is I pick one or two slips of paper and think of as many recipe ideas that I can with those two words involved. It’s fun! This recipe is a product of that. I believe the words I picked were “sausage” and “leeks”…or maybe “radishes”. I don’t ever use leeks or radishes in my dishes – they aren’t vegetables that I eat much. But that’s why I play this game and why I made slips of paper with those words on them. It’s important to keep trying new things in the blogging world!
The most creative I could get here is this simple “white chili” type dish. I suppose it’s more of a stew than a chili, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
The other thing I’m working on is making recipes simple. I have a tendency to over-complicate things or make them fancy. Most people trying to change their diet and eat healthier need simple. Otherwise they can’t stick to it. This recipe is one of the easier dishes on here probably. You just cook the sausage (or buy pre-cooked if the preservatives don’t bother you), chop all of the vegetables, pop open a couple cans, and boom – throw it all in the crockpot. Then it’s done in a mere 2-3 hours.
This recipe is a great cold-weather dish. It’s warm and hearty but could be enjoyed in early spring as well as winter. It’s not too heavy like some chili recipes, but still gives you plenty of warm-belly feelings. Harris Teeter’s fresh made chicken sausage is my favorite – it’s fresh, it doesn’t have strange ingredients and they have several flavors that I love. I used the sweet Italian in this one. I was going for hot Italian (since it is chili after all) but they didn’t have any made when I went shopping for it.
Before I took the leeks out of the grocery bag and started chopping them up I honestly had no idea what they were or how they taste. I began to chop them and took a whif of how they smelled – onions. They smell just like onions. BUT they don’t make you cry so that was cool. I did learn that even though they hold a disk shape, it’s wise to separate all the layers. They are much milder than onions so a whole disk of them wouldn’t hurt your taste buds, but I wanted to evenly disperse them throughout.
Crockpot Italian Chicken Sausage and White Bean Chili
This chili has a balance of hearty and light flavors from spicy chicken sausage, leeks and radishes. It's perfect for late winter or early spring
- 4 4oz hot or sweet italian chicken sausage links
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 bunch leeks*
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 8 oz radishes
- 1 can canelli beans drained and rinsed
- 1 4oz can diced green chiles
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp sage
Chop all the vegetables while cooking the sausage (if uncooked)
Add broth and vegetables to the slow cooker and set to high while sausage is still cooking or beginning to cool.
When sausage has cooled enough to handle, slice it up
After the vegetables have been in the crockpot for about 30 minutes, Add beans, sausage, green chiles, and seasonings. Set timer for 1 hours
Occasionally stir and check on the softness of the vegetables and beans. Add salt and pepper to taste if you prefer.
When the vegetables have softened enough, switch your crockpot off and allow to cool before serving or portioning out into containers.
*I cut up a whole bundle of leeks I got from the store but noticed I probably didn't need as many as it made - I probably only used about 2/3 of them.
**Nutrition Facts: 1 serving. Calories: 276 Fat: 10g Carbs: 24g Protein: 21g