March is the kind of month that just as you think spring is here… it’s winter again. And then it’s spring the next day. So here’s a great soup to pull you through the tail end of winter. I had average expectations for this recipe but let me just say Jeff and I loved it. This is really a fantastic soup. And it’s also a reminder to myself how easy it can be to make a great soup. I pre-cooked dried beans but you can use canned beans just as well. I’ve included a basic recipe for cooking the dried beans below and I found a great blog post that’s all about beans here if you’re interested. The important take away is the soaking of the beans. You could skip the soaking step and just cook them longer, but by allowing them to soak overnight the beans release gases during the soaking process making it much easier on your digestion later. And it also reduces cook time so that you don’t lose as much of the nutrients. This is good stuff!
Kale White Bean + Sausage Soup
(adapted from Fine Cooking)
- 1 lb. spicy sausage, ground
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- One-half small yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 5 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked Great Northern Beans (see below for cooking dried beans)
- 1 lb. kale, rinsed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (8 cups firmly packed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook about 5 minutes until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium high and add the onion. Cook stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and translucent, for about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for about 1 minute more.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sausage, then stir in half the beans. Mash the remaining beans with a fork or wooden spoon and add them to the pot, stirring to combine. Add in the kale and allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cooking Great Northern Dried Beans
- 1 cup Great Northern Beans
- 4 cups water
Soak the beans in an uncovered container with beans fully submerged in water for at least 4 hours or overnight, then drain and rinse well. Place beans and 4 cups of water in large pot (water should cover beans) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour (you may want to taste test after 45 mins as mine were done slightly less than an hour) Drain and set aside.