Tuesday, December 13, 2011

White Bean, Kale, and Sausage Soup

I looooove making soup in the winter.  Ok I guess it isn't "officially" winter, but we have had some pretty cold days.  I really miss soup in the summer time.  We don't have a/c so making soup is pretty much out of the question for 4 months or so. 

I really try and make up for that as soon as possible.  Soup is cheap, usually easy to make, and I have found that it is harder to mess up then other recipes I tinker with.

You can really just use what you have on hand.  For example, we still have a decent amount of kale in the garden right now.  I am not a big cooked greens eater, but I do enjoy kale slightly cooked.  I prefer to add the kale right before I eat my soup.  It only takes a few seconds for the kale to cook slightly in hot soup.

Below is my recipe for White Bean, Kale, and Sausage Soup.  You can use any kind of sausage you like.  You can also use any kind of beans.  Pinto beans would be really good in the soup or even lentils (which don't require soaking and can be added 30-45 minutes before you eat, making for a really quick to make soup).  Greens like collards, turnip greens, or chard can be used.  These are all very inexpensive as well.

White Bean, Kale, and Sausage Soup

1 cup dry white beans
4 cups chopped kale (washed and stems removed)
1/2 lb. turkey sausage
1 medium onion
6 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

You can either do the quick soak method or the long soak which are both on the back of the bag of beans.  I do a brine/quick soak method I learned from Americas Test Kitchen which yields less mushy, flavorful beans.  Put your beans in a pan and cover with cold water (about 2 inches over) and, for this recipe, I add about 1/4 tsp. salt.  Generally you use 2 tsp. per quart of water.  Boil for about 5 minutes and let stand for at least an house.  Drain and rinse your beans.  Continue with recipe as follows. 

In a medium stockpot, add the oil and brown the sausage over medium high heat.  Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the stock.  Take a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan, so you can
get all of the brown bits into the soup.  Add the onion and beans. 

If you used the method on the bag of beans, cook until beans are tender.  This usually takes 1-2 hours.  If you do the bean brine method, cook the coup for about 40 minutes or until beans are tender.

You can either add the kale to the pot 5 minutes or so before serving, or dish out individual bowls 5 minutes before serving and add the kale that way.  I prefer adding it to the bowls, that way if I have any leftovers, the kale doesn't get too overdone.

A slice of hearty homemade bread is a great accompaniment to the soup.  I also like to garnish with a bit of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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