I’m a latecomer to the whole kale bandwagon, mostly because out of sheer habit I head straight to the spinach, collards, or cabbage instead, especially when it comes to making soup. So I decided to bite the bullet and pick up some kale the other day when I was shopping for ingredients for this rustic and heartwarming sausage and white bean soup, mainly because it was on sale.
What a great choice. I like how the kale’s sturdy texture makes it a great choice for soup, as it doesn’t wilt like spinach does. And I love how its deep green color brightens up this dish — perfect on a cold winter day. I definitely will keep kale in mind for other recipes, especially in late fall/winter when it’s in season.
If you want this soup to have a thicker consistency that resembles chili, reduce the amount of broth or add another can of beans – either way you’re in for a tasty treat.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced small
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
- 2 individual hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 6 cups chicken broth (I used homemade turkey broth for this batch)
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cans (15 oz. ea.) great northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 3 cups kale, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat the olive oil, add the carrots, onion, garlic, and celery. Sauté for 4 or 5 minutes, until the veggies start getting a bit tender. Smelling good!
Add the sweet and hot sausages, and brown until sausage is cooked all the way through. You want to crumble the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.
Drain the sausage and veggie mixture in a colander to get rid of any grease. You can continue to chop the sausage to get it into small pieces (I love my Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop for this step) and return it to the pot.
Add the tomatoes and beans and mix well.
Mix in the broth, basil, bay leaves, salt, pepper and hot sauce, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add the kale and simmer for a few minutes.
Once plated, sprinkle with the Parmesan (if desired).
I like this with garlic bread and a nice glass of white wine. Or skip the bread and serve with a tossed salad if you really want to be good. Or do all three – it’s your meal, after all!
This soup freezes well – just thaw in the fridge the day before you want to serve it. It will thicken some, so add some water if you want it “soupier” when reheating.
Eat, drink and be merry!
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