Roasted Sweet Italian Sausage with Kale and Barley Stew is a simple dish because the sausages are cooked in the oven and require almost no attention.
- 18 ounce sweet Italian sausage links
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2–3 carrots peeled and diced (about 2 cup)
- 1–2 rutabagas peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- kosher salt (as needed)
- 1 cup pearl barley (rinsed with cold water)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves only, finely chopped)
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
- 1 bunch fresh kale (leaves stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped)
- cider or malt vinegar (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the sausages in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning halfway through cooking until well browned, about 25 minutes. Don’t worry if they are not cooked all the way through, they will finish cooking in the stew. You may alternatively cook the sausages on the stove in a little fat until well-browned.
While the sausages roast: Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large soup pot. Add the leeks, carrot, and rutabaga. Season lightly with salt, then cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the barley, stir 2 to 3 minutes until well-coated with oil and beginning to toast. Add the rosemary and stock, then season with salt and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. The sausages should be well-browned by now if so remove them from the oven and add them the pot. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, adding a splash of water if necessary to keep the consistency loose but not soupy.
Add the chopped kale leaves (save stems for another use) and simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes until the greens are wilted but still vibrant. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve the stew in individual bowls with a sprinkling of vinegar (if using).