Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flatbread with White Beans, Chard and Sausage

We all get in ruts.  If you've been around for other posts, you'll see I have been in a soup rut.  I also tend to get in a rut of making sausage and greens soup or serving greens with sausage over polenta or as my go-to solutions for the neverending procession of greens in my veggie box.

When the weather is warming up however, suddenly the hearty soups and heavy meals I have made all winter are not quite as appealing yet I'm still getting greens and they won't stop coming til mid-June.  This week was our first Spring-like weather and the last thing I wanted was soup or polenta.  Although my raw food friends have told me chard is great as a salad green, that wasn't working for me either.  But, I did have some very flavorful cannelini beans that I had overcooked to the point they practically mashed themselves and lacking actual sausage, I did have some ground turkey that takes no time to make into simple Italian sausage.  I also had a batch of the basic dough from Artisan bread in 5 minutes a Day sitting in my fridge waiting to be made into pizza or flatbread.  So with a quick wilting of the greens and a few ingredients in the turkey to create the sausage, I had a great dinner.

Feel free to use ready-made sausage if you have it, leave it out for a perfectly balanced veggie meal or use grilled or sauteed chicken breasts coated with Italian seasoning.  Canned beans are fine, just drain them and mash them with some garlic and olive oil.  Use whatever greens you have on hand - spinach, chard, kale, etc.  And if you only have salad greens, bake them with only the beans and sausage then top with a quick cold salad of mixed greens tossed with a light vinaigrette in the style of a piadini - a salad topped pizza that you fold and eat like an Italian taco.  I added the chopped tomatoes and basil shown in the picture, but they are definitely not essentials unless it's tomato season.  In fact, when I made it the first time around, I only had oven-dried tomatoes so I reconstituted them in boiling water and used those.  (This is actually the more seasonal choice since tomatoes won't technically be in season for at least 2 more months.  I just happened to have some fresh pesticide-free ones on hand bought simply because I was craving them.) You can also add chopped artichoke hearts or olives if you want to as well before or after baking.

If you are gluten intolerant then you may want to try the recipe on this site for Pat's Thin Crust.

CWYG Stats

Veggie Box - Chard

CWYG Stats - white beans, flour, yeast, water, ground turkey, garlic, garlic

Flatbread with White Beans, Chard and Sausage
1 recipe Pizza dough (regular or gluten-free, your favorite recipe)
1 1/2 cups drained white beans, mashed with garlic and olive oil to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Homemade or ready made Italian Sausage - not in casing (I use this recipe), optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch chard or other greens, washed, stemmed and chopped
Chopped tomatoes, or reconstituted dried tomatoes, optional
a few leaves of basil, optional
parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 475 degrees.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces and flatten each to make a 6-8" disk.  Slide into the oven on a cookie sheet or baking stone to partially bake.  Set aside.

Cook Italian sausage, if using, in the olive oil, then remove and reserve oil in skillet. Saute garlic and onion in the olive oil, then add the chard and a little water.  Season with salt then toss to wilt.

Layer beans, greens and sausage and roasted tomatoes (save fresh ones til after baking), artichokes or olives if using, on the partially baked flatbreads, then sprinkle with a little cheese if you want to. Slide them back into oven and bake until the crust is well-browned.  Garnish with chopped raw tomatoes and basil if you have them.  Feel free to drizzle with a little extra olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

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