Monday, January 30, 2017

Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage

I'm often asked "what's your favorite thing to cook?" I can't name just one, but I do have a top 3 list.

First -simply for the way flavors come together and the ease of serving and cleanup - would be one-pot/one-pan/one baking dish dinners. Things like braised meats with veggies, stews, roasted chicken with potatoes and veggies, chicken or pork with a pan sauce, or skillet casseroles. I'm constantly looking for new one-pot creations!

Second is risotto. It's an elegant starter, entree or side, and it is extremely versatile. I have made risotto over 30 ways with all different ingredients and flavors from traditional to fusion recipes. I love the process, the gentle stirring, and watching the rice puff and soften as it turns into a creamy dish.

Finally, soup. You can spend hours simmering a complex soup or pull one together rather quickly (like the one in this post). I love building the flavors and slowly adding ingredients - I never make a dump soup in a crockpot. I love all kinds of soups - creamy, broth based, vegetarian, chicken, beef, traditional, international. I could eat soup daily, and in the colder months I often do. Any Sunday night you can find several containers of soup all packaged up for lunches for the week.

I created this soup because I had a bag of kale we didn't use up over the weekend. While I have used spinach and escarole in soups, to me kale is the perfect leafy green for soup. It wilts just enough to do well in a soup, but also holds up enough to add some great textures.

This soup, even before adding the sausage, had the most amazing, rich and perfectly salty flavor - the secret is including the Parmesan rind!  Just one tip before we get to the recipe - I prefer to keep the sausage separate from the soup until ready to serve. This keeps the soup from getting overly greasy or salty. The sausage you use is completely up to you - hot Italian, sweet, chicken, etc.

Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 4


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 14.5oz can of white beans
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 pinches Kosher salt
  • Small Parmesan rind
  • 6 c low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1.5 cups chopped Kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 lb cooked, crumbled sausage (your choice; I used hot Italian sausage)
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot
  • Add the onions and garlic; saute 2 minutes
  • Add the white beans, stir to combine.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, Parmesan rind and broth. Stir, cover and let simmer 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add the kale. Simmer another 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. 
  • In the meantime, cook your sausage (breaking up to crumble) and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. 
  • Serve soup with 1-2 Tbsp of the cooked sausage. 

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