Simplifying with.... Sausage?

It seems like farmers have gained a reputation for being very BUSY people. I I would say this reputation is well earned but I don't think that means the rest of the world leads lives of leisure.  In fact, the average family in the US currently has less leisure time available than any generation before. We're all tired and for good reason; we are constantly running between work, school, daycare, sports, second jobs, the gym, caring for aging parents, to the vet, to the dentist, to the dog dentist, to third jobs... I know how it feels; as a farmer AND a mother AND a brusher of my dogs' teeth, I feel like my To Do list never, ever, ever, ever goes down or goes away.  And it seems like all this 'doing' leaves behind little time for the things that really matter, like a hike around the farm with the kiddo or cooking really good meals with all this lovely food we grow and raise.  It's the simple truth that most of us live lives that have turned the essential pleasure of cooking into a chore. 

This all occurred to me last night while I was standing outside our freezer, chewing on a fingernail and asking myself what was for dinner.  At 5pm... I find myself in that situation often and I got to thinking I can't be alone.  Had I found myself in this situation many years ago (before I became invested in food, the environment, and farming) I probably would have turned on my heel, marched AWAY from the freezer, and gone out for McDonald's. Cooking takes energy and energy can be hard to come by at the end of the day. 

I didn't end up going to McDonald's last night.  I've spent too many years learning about industrial agriculture and food justice to make that choice.   What I did instead was turn to my favorite farm-fast-food: SAUSAGE!  I opened the freezer, grabbed a pound of Andouille and ran back to the kitchen full of relief to have a plan.  In my mind I have a handful of 'recipes' that I have developed over the years.  They all cook quickly, are flexible on ingredient requirements, generally use one or two pans/pots/etc., and are so delicious even picky kids eat them happily.  They all use sausage...

While I thawed the Andouille I made the decision to share the recipe with you in hopes that I could give someone else the relief that comes from knowing what's for dinner at the end of a busy day.  It's also good to know that all the ingredients are clean, whole foods that reward the cooking effort with a truly nourishing and delicious meal. It's also an affordable meal and the ingredients are all available locally this time of year. In the end, I grabbed my Dutch oven and my camera and took photos as I cooked!  Read on below for the recipe and for more information about Andouille (including how to say it).

Thank you for being here and for getting out in the world every day to give it your best.  There are a lot of things we can't change about life and a lot of things we can't make easier.  But I hope I can help you make at least one meal easier. 

Andouille and Veggie Simple Supper

This dish hits all the flavor notes: savory, sweet, salty, peppery, and even the right amount of bitter from the greens.  No extra herbs, spices or salt is necessary as the flavorful sausage takes care of that for you.  It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and over half of that is time to simmer, so you can be doing something else while it cooks.
Serves 6
1 tablespoon butter (can also use tallow, lard, coconut oil)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 ½ cups bone broth- can use beef, chicken, pork
8 ounces organic mushrooms (any variety works), sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices
10 ounces fresh, hearty greens such as kale, collards, or chard.  Use baby leaves or remove stems from more mature greens and tear leaves into smaller pieces before cooking.
1 pound Quarry Brook Farms Beef bulk Andouille, thawed (If it's frozen solid and you need to hurry, plop the whole package in a bowl of warm water and let sit for 20 minutes.  Remove from water, remove package and cook immediately.  The center may still be frozen so just scrape the meat off the frozen portion as it cooks.)

6 servings of something complimentary to soak up the delicious broth.   We like it best with orzo or polenta but rice, lentils, chick peas, or mashed potatoes would all work nicely too.  Prepare which ever you choose according to your tastes while the other ingredients simmer.  Then set aside and keep warm until time to serve. You could also use a fresh loaf of bread.
Over medium-high heat, place butter (or fat/oil of your choice) into large skillet or Dutch Oven.   Add onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stir. 
Add andouille to onions and garlic and immediately start to scrape sausage apart using two forks.  Continue to scrape apart into crumbles as it browns.  Stop when sausage crumbles are a size you like and allow sausage to continue browning for about 5 minutes.  Stir frequently. 
Add sliced mushrooms and sweet potatoes.  Stir well and allow to cook together for another 3 minutes. 
Add bone broth and stir.  Wait for contents of skillet to start bubbling then lower heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer until sweet potatoes are soft enough to be pieced by fork.
Once sweet potatoes are soft, add greens and stir.  Replace lid and allow to cook just long enough for the greens to turn wilt and turn bright green.
This can be served alone in a large bowl but it is really great served over pasta or polenta.  We like orzo best but feel free to experiment by using what you have on hand.  Enjoy!