Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sausage and Bean Soup with Kale

We had a long cold snap back in December...cold for our neck of the woods anyway.  The temperature hovered below 30 for 3 days straight, and it got into the teens at night.  Needless to say, almost everything in the garden died.  The broccoli is trying to make a comeback...but the eggplant, beans, lettuce, and some of my herbs all succumbed to the bitter cold. 

Thankfully, all the herbs bounced back except the basil (it's a warm weather herb), the onions, cilantro, and parsley are doing great...and the kale...well Lordy mercy.  The kale barely flinched, and is going strong. 

See what I mean?

 








We actually have 2 kinds of kale...one of David's "experiments" this year.  It occured to me the other day I hadn't cooked and kale yet this winter (shame on me!).  That, and seeing we were in for a spell of cold, wet, and rainy weather meant only one thing.  It was time to break out the ol' soup pot!

I meant to buy italian sausage for this soup, got home, and realized I'd bought bratwurst instead.  Oh well...it wasn't worth a trip back to the grocery store...and definitely not with a 2-year-old (although he behaves himself for the most part). 

This soup is hearty, nutricious, and dare I say, figure-friendly?  Yes, it has sausage in it...but you don't get much per serving.  It was quick to make, and the whole house smelled great while it simmered on the stove...what more could you ask for, right?  I did make about a batch-and-a-half, so you'll see bigger amounts in the pictures, but the recipe is for a single batch

Sausage and Bean Soup with Kale

1 pound italian sausage, (you can use link sausage also, or accidently use bratwurst, like I did ;-)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups kale, chopped (about 1/2 a bunch)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (15.5) ounces red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5) ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5) ounces italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a cabernet)
1 teaspoon dried basil

In order to cook the sausage, we'll need to remove the casings first.  (If you're using kielbasa, just cut into 1/2 inch rounds).  Use a small knife to score the casing along one side of the sausage. 

Now just peel away the casing...it should come right off and stay in one piece. 

Repeat until you have all the sausage nice and naked!

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and break it up with a large spoon.  Continue to cook until the sausage is no longer pink.

Since I was using bratwurst, I added some italian seasoning blend.  But if you didn't oppsie like I did, you can skip this step. 

Remove the meat to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the fat. 

Pour out all but one tablespoon of fat from the pot, and set it back on the stove over medium heat. 

Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and season with some salt and pepper.  Saute the veggies until tender, about 6-8 minutes. 

While that's cookin', remove any tough stems from the kale and chop it into 1 inch strips.  I couldn't decide which variety of kale to put in the soup, so I decided to use a little of both. 

Add the chicken broth...
the wine and the kale...I know, it looks like a lot, but it'll wilt down, don't worry.  And yes, I sampled the wine first...I mean you have to right?  Don't forget to drink a little more along with the soup at dinnertime, lol!

Drain and rinse your beans, and add them to the pot, along with the tomatoes.  You can see the kale has wilted down nicely (in the time in took me to get the beans ready).

Lastly, add the sausage back to the pot, and the dried basil.  Give the pot a couple of stirs and bring to a slow simmer.  Let it go for about 15 minutes to meld all the ingredients together.  If the consistency isn't to your liking (not enough broth), feel free to add some more chicken broth.  (Even though I made 1 1/2 batches, I used 6 cups of broth...as though I'd made a double batch). 

Ladle out the soup and serve with some crusty bread.  (I admit I made refrigerated cresent rolls...they were on sale, plus I had a coupon. ;-)

There can't be anything better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold rainy night.  It just makes you feel good, don't you think?

For an extra layer of flavor, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the bowls, or some freshly grated Parmesan cheese...which I intend to do tonight when we have the leftovers!

Stay warm wherever you are, and God bless your table tonight!

1 comment:

cookies and cups said...

This soup looks so good!