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Bean and Kale Ragout over Parmesan Polenta

Posted Feb 20 2013 8:00am

So you may have noticed the recipes here since Christmas have been pretty "healthy" and vegetable-heavy. It's partly because of the CSA, and mostly because I've really been trying to lose more weight. I am so proud of how far I've come, but I also have these last 15-ish nagging pounds on me that I'd like to get rid of. I decided to make a goal of losing it before my birthday (May 14) and so far, so good! I hit a big milestone on Sunday of -90 lbs. and it's given me some great motivation to finally hit that magical -100lb. mark!

I am trying to lose the last 10 as I lost the first 90, slow, steady, diet and exercise, but I'm not going to lie and say crash dieting and restricting for a few weeks hasn't crossed my mind. But I want this to last, and I want it to be my lifestyle, so I'll keep plugging along. Dinners like this make me remember that I can eat healthy, but also eat delicious food and still stay within my calorie bank for the day.

I tried to find big, beautiful heirloom beans at Whole Foods, World Market, and another specialty shop, but the only thing I could find was large lima beans at Publix. While I'm not a lima bean lover or hater, I never would have guessed these were lima beans had I not prepared the meal. The kale was from the CSA, of course. I got this idea of cooking beans and kale in tomatoes from browsing recipes for kale, but didn't print out the recipe, and don't exactly remember what was in that recipe, so I guess I'll call this one an original!

Bean and Kale Ragout over Parmesan Polenta
Veggie by Season original

1 c. dry large lima beans, or any bean 1 bunch of kale, any variety, stemmed and chopped1 tsp. olive oil1 small yellow onion, minced2 garlic cloves, minced1/2 c. dry red wine2 c. diced tomatoes in juice1 tsp. dried oregano1/2 tsp. fennel seedsKosher salt and black pepper3 c. vegetable stock1 c. quick cooking polentaMilk, as needed1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnishCrushed red pepper flakes
Soak beans overnight in the refrigerator, drain and set aside.Bring a pot of water to a boil, add kale and blanch of 2-3 minutes, until slightly wilted, drain and set aside.Add oil to a pot over medium heat.Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, saute' for 5 minutes.Add wine, tomatoes, oregano, fennel and beans, stir well, cover, turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes.Add vegetable stock to a small pot, bring to a boil.Add polenta and whisk continuously, add milk if necessary to thin. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, add Parmesan cheese, turn heat off and cover.Add kale to bean mixture, stir and heat through.Add polenta to a dish, spoon in bean mixture, top with Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes, serve. 
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