White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup
Well, as much as I want to pretend it's not happening, the cold weather is closing in which means it's probably time for my weekly Friday, So It Must Be Soup feature. It's actually Monday but I also have to post this as my submission to Gastropost this week as my ode to the fall bounty so let's just pretend it's Friday and you go make this soup.
Kale. We all love kale and I thank my lucky stars every day that I own a son who loves kale. He lets me put kale in his smoothies, he likes it in soups, he likes it sauteed with garlic and olive oil, he likes it in stews and he even likes kale chips. I don't know what sort of evil person I was in a past life that has made it possible to own a kid who loves food this much, but I choose to not ask too many questions and just keep cooking.
I make white bean, kale and sausage soup fairly often but I always use those little canned Italian white beans and italian sausage. Since I had all afternoon to make this soup I really couldn't come up with a good reason NOT to just quick soak some white great northern beans and go old school, so I did. I mean, I could have told myself "self, you are way too busy playing Candy Crush on Facebook to soak those damned beans" or "self, how are you going to actually take an extra hour out of your busy day watching Wolf Blitzer say the same thing he said yesterday but for some reason you still watch to soak these beans?" I would way too embarrassed to admit that I spend my precious time doing stuff like that so I just went and pre soaked the stupid beans.
Also, I still had a big link of Portuguese chorizo in the fridge that I was afraid would not get eaten and so that went into the soup this time in place of my typical, fresh Italian sausages that I normally bake and slice. This was way easier than cooking and slicing the raw sausage and they have a much denser, chewier texture that is really nice. I will also admit that the texture of the soaked beans is much nicer than the texture of the canned beans and really is worth the bit of extra effort it took to use quick soaked, dried beans. All in all, tasty, easy and nutritious and you can't beat that.
Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup
from 1 cup dried beans - pre soaked white great northern beans (either overnight or quick soaked) , drained and rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
1-3 clove garlic (if you really like garlic, use 3)
couple sprigs of fresh rosemary
couple sprigs fresh thyme
7 cups of broth (I used turkey but chicken is great)
1 quart (4 cups) of water
1 parmesan rind (optional but really adds a good flavour if you have one lying around)
salt and pepper
2 bay leaf
1 cup of diced potato
1 parsnip, finely diced
1 medium bunch of kale, washed and chopped (about 1/2 lb)
1 lb of cooked Portuguese Chorizo sausage (I used mild), sliced into coin sized slices
Pull out a big soup pot and start heating it up over medium heat. Cook the onions over medium heat in a glug of olive oil for four or five minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook that for another minute. Add the beans , water, stock, cheese rind if you are using it, salt and pepper, rosemary,thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Let cook for about an hour, until the beans are tender. Keep checking and if they are not soft enough after an hour, keep simmering until they are but it shouldn't take much longer.
Add the parsnips to the soup and cook for about ten minutes before you add the potato, sweet potato, kale and chorizo and cook, simmering, for another 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender and the kale is cooked. If you need to top the soup up with water or stock, do so after the kale has fully wilted so you can get a better idea of how thick the soup is going to be.