I am surprised I have never blogged about this recipe because we love it, it's easy, and it's a clever way to get good flavors out of the slow cooker. I am picky about slow cooker recipes because I cannot tolerate the bland, overcooked mush that results if the cook doesn't understand the cooking method of the slow cooker. Yes, the slow cooker is forgiving about cooking times, unlike the oven or the stove which is timed to the minute; however, continuing to cook dishes after they are done (dry beans and stock excepted here) erases any flavors they used to have. I love it when flavor and ease meet, as they do in this recipe.
Slow Cooker Kale and Sausage Stew - originally from a Real Simple mag
Combine in 6-quart slow cooker:
4 cups canned tomatoes - maybe chopped or broken up
1 large onion, chopped
several garlic cloves, chopped roughly
1 lb. sausage - bulk or links, whatever flavor you like (Italian? country?)
some grinds of pepper
Nestle 2-3 large potatoes (about 1 1b. total) in mixture. Pile chopped kale on top to fill slow cooker to brim - maybe 7-8 cups chopped, but really, I just use the amount of kale that I have.
Put the lid on and cook on low for 6-7 hours (until the potatoes are tender and the sausage is cooked through - might even be just 5 hours, depending on your slow cooker).
Fish out the whole potatoes and put them in a serving dish. Add 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/3-1/2 cup warm milk, a bit of salt, and mash well with a potato masher; they should be quite soft, although I don't peel my potatoes, so there are delicious shreds of potato skin throughout. Set aside to keep warm.
Stir the stew together in the slow cooker, breaking up sausage links if you want to. To serve, place a dollop of mashed potatoes in a soup plate with a scoop of stew on top/beside. Serve with good bread for swiping up the delicious juices.