Tuesday, December 21, 2010

White Bean and Kale Soup with Smoked Sausage

The temperature is dropping and I had some small white beans to use up.  So... Soup!  This weekend, I spent Saturday with my good friend Tamra and her family.  Amelie and I played 'fishing' over the back of the couch with a jump rope, and Peyton and I played peek-a-boo.  It was so much fun playing with the kids!  I brought the soup over for lunch and Tamra made pitas from scratch.  Both were yummy!

I'm sorry to say that I forgot to snap a photo before we ate the soup.  Just trust me-- its good.  White beans in a flavorful chicken broth with bright green kale, celery, carrots and smoked sausage.  Warms you right up!  Here's my recipe.

White Bean and Kale Soup with Smoked Sausage
8 oz. white beans, rinsed and picked over
smoked beef sausage (I used Hillshire Farms)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth (The kirkland brand from Costco is REALLY good)
1 tsp dried basil
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

1.  Place beans  in a pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, then put the lid on and let them sit for an hour.  Drain.

2.  Cut the sausage in slices (rounds), then cut each round in half (half-moon shape).  Fry over medium-high heat in a soup pot in 2 batches.  Remove to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.  The frying should take about 5-7 minutes per batch-- you want the sausage to render its fat and get slightly brown.  Don't worry about the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.  Brown bits = flavor! :)

3.  Place the onion in the pot with the fat from the sausage and saute until slightly transparent.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in about a cup of broth and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add the rest of the broth, carrots, celery, and beans.  Sprinkle dried basil over the broth.  Bring to a slight boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4.  After 30 minutes, add the sausage and stir.  Add water if necessary as the beans will soak up liquid as they cook.  Cover and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

5.  Add the kale, remove from the heat, and replace the lid.  Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir in the kale.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

6.  If desired, you can add 1/2 cup cream at this point to make it a bit more creamy.

Enjoy!  Here's to snowballs, snowmen and steamy bowl of white bean soup!

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