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Serves 4

2 Tbsp. olive oil

8 ounces crumbed, smoked or cooked sausage or chopped smoked ham

1 large red onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage or

1 Tbsp. dried, or to taste

1 pound beets, about 2 large, peeled and grated

1/2 head red cabbage, grated

1 1/2 cups dried black beans, rinsed, picked over and soaked, if you like

Salt and black pepper

Dijon mustard for serving

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Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until nicely browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the head to medium, add the onion, garlic and sage, and cook, stirring, until the mixture is soft and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the beets and cabbage and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and deeply colored, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so it bubbles gently. Cover and cook, stirring once in a while and adding water if necessary, until the beans are tender, 45 minutes to

2 hours.

When the beans are tender and the stew has thickened, season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the mustard at the table.

Variations: Substitute dried pinto beans for black beans and

1 1/2 pound grated pumpkin or winter squash for the beets and cabbage. Omit the mustard. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts or almonds if you like.

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