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It's Friday So It Must Be Soup!Dec 3/10

This week I had a hankering for white bean, kale and sausage soup. I had two sausages in the freezer that I wanted to use up and since I THOUGHT that they were pork and fennel, it would be so perfect for that kind of a soup and all I needed to do was pick up some kale. Since I was making a pretty hearty soup, it would be heavy enough to serve for supper with a fresh loaf of bread so I also made an pesto bread using my olive oil bread dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking.

I came home with my kale, I prepped all of my ingredients, i put the two, defrosted sausages in a cast iron pan and put them in the oven to roast and made my soup. The last ingredient to go in would be the cooked sausages that I would slice into discs. I don't like crumbled up sausage meat in my soup, I like disks of cooked sausage. If you like crumbled up sausage meat in your soup, knock yourself out and just remove the casings and fry them in the pan along with the onion and garlic but I don't roll that way myself.

The sausages smelled great but not fennelish at all, which was weird. I went to slice the sausage and it all fell apart. You know how I feel about crumbled sausage meat in my soup!
I tasted a bit and they are so not fennel and pork. They are pork and something but they are kind of sweet and not what I wanted at all but it was too late to turn back so I added the crumbled up wrong flavour of pork sausage into my soup and crossed my fingers.

The soup is actually still very good but it's not exactly what I was craving so I am going to have to make this one again. I also would usually add about 3/4 lb of quartered little new potatoes but I had a bowl of leftover roasted veggies (potato, cauliflower and carrot) and knew that if I didn't add them to this soup, they would end up in the garbage because we just don't really love leftovers.

You know, two very weird things happened yesterday. First, the subway stopped and told everyone to just get out at 8:30am in the middle of rush hour. No talk of shuttle busses or anything, just "beat it". I, along with thousands of other Torontonians, found themselves with somewhere to be but no way to get there. I walked for about a mile along with a growing throng of people in smart black overcoats and briefcases without a free taxi to be had. I was about to have a panic attack when a nice man pulled up beside me, dropped a lady off and she asked me if I wanted a ride because this nice man was going as far as St George Station. Now, normally I would not hop into a strange man's work van but I had to get to my appointment, so I did. I did ask him if he was an axe murderer and he assured me that he was not. It's not like an axe murderer is going to say "why yes I am fine lady, and I am going to chop you into pieces and make kale, white bean and human lady soup out of you!". Luckily, he was NOT an axe murderer and just a really nice, young Hungarian man who really just wanted to help.

Then, a man was murdered with a crossbow yesterday at our local library at 4pm, one block up from our house. We live in the Beaches, in Toronto, which is like happy flower kitty golden retriever and a live in nanny to walk him land. I don't know what that has to do with White Bean, Kale and Sausage soup, but it sure is shocking. Not the same kind of shocking as realizing that my savoury fennel sausage was, in fact , some sort of sweet tasting sausage and not fennel at all, but shocking none the less. What a strange, strange day.

Okay, back to the food. I just used some President's Choice pesto for the bread because their pesto is actually fine and I only needed a couple of tbls. If you happen to have some fresh pesto on hand or cubes of frozen, home made pesto in your freezer, even better but sometimes you have to do what you have to do and it's still really tasty bread. At least when I opened up the jar expecting a basil pesto, it was basil pesto and not pesto with honey and raisins and cheddar cheese instead. Can you tell I am still a bit bitter about my sausage mix up?

The easiest way to add the pesto is to pinch off  your grapefruit sized ball of dough and then pat it down into a wide rectangle on a floured surface. This is where you add whatever you are adding. Some days it might be walnuts and cranberries, today it's pesto

The next step is to fold each side in to the centre, like a 3 fold paper fold and then roll it up into a ball. After you get it to this stage, you gently pull the edges into themselves on the bottom just like you would for a regular boule - don't worry if the bottom is all messy because that cleans itself up when it bakes. Just leave it to rest on your pizza peel or if you are like me, your overturned cookie sheet on some cornmeal so that it won't stick when you slide it off onto your pre heated pizza stone.
your finished boule ready to rest for 40 minutes

Just before it is ready to go into the oven, you dust the top with some flour and slash the top with a serrated bread knife so the bread won't just bust open on it's own. You want to try to make sure it's going to come out looking pretty.

Just bake it for 30 minutes at 450F and when it comes out, it should look something like this!

So, the recipe for Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup:
1 glug of olive oil
1/2 of a sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of kale or to taste - it depends on how much kale you like in your soup
1 540 ml can of white kidney beans or cannellini beans
1 900 ml box of chicken stop plus up to 250 ml more if needed
1 litre of water (4 cups)
I usually add about 3/4 lb of new potatoes but today I added about 1.5 cups of leftover roasted veggies
2 lrg cooked sausages, sliced into discs - don't get me started
1 chunk of parmesan rind if you have it

Sauté the onion and garlic in a good glug of olive oil until softened and just starting to get a bit of colour. Add the leftover roasted veggies if you are adding. Add the 900 mil of chicken stock and the 4 cups of water and the quartered new potatoes if you are using instead of roasted veggies. Add the kidney beans and the parmesan rind and let it simmer while you wash and chop the kale. Add the kale and let it simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes before adding your cooked, slice sausages. Let it simmer for at least another 15 minutes but it can simmer for longer if you have the time. Again, it depends on how cooked you like your kale to be. Some people like it really, really soft but I like it to retain a tiny bit of bite.

Olive Oil Dough
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes 4-1lb loaves.

2-3/4 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast
1-1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading. I like to use my kitchen aid with the dough hook.

Cover lightly and allow to rest at room temperature about 2 hrs. The bread will rise quite a bit in that time.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days. When you use it, pinch off a grapefruit sized ball to work with. Follow my previous instructions for the pesto bread or you can just form it into a boule shape and bake it plain.
Here is one of the videos the authors have posted that shows them making the bread

So, that's my Friday Soup for the first Friday in December!

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