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beans and greens soup

Friday, April 2, 2010

I did not cook soup as much as I would have liked to this past winter but I wasn’t going to let this simple staple wait until next year. In fact, I make it on cool Spring and early Summer evenings as well. Beans and greens soup has Italian roots (just like me) and is not only tasty but also healthy for you. It is traditionally a vegetarian soup but I added sweet Italian turkey sausage and used chicken stock in this version. I also added some tiny pasta noodles to make it a heavier meal. Pasta with beans is another Italian soup called pasta e fagioli. I’ve never made this soup myself but love it. I’ll have to find a good recipe and share it in a future post.

I used kale as my green for this soup. I typically use escarole, but I wanted to end my bitter battle with kale. According to health experts, kale is a powerhouse leafy green. I’ve experimented with it in the past but have never liked the bitter taste I always experienced. After reading various kale recipes, I decided to try kale again with the determination that I would win this time and I did! (Other recipes will be appearing soon.)

Cannellini beans are used in this soup. If you can’t find them in your market look for white kidney beans, it is the exact same bean. These white beans are meaty and smooth. Try using them in place of chickpeas and you’ll have a dip similar to hummus.

I would normally use a white or yellow onion in this soup but I didn’t have one so I used a shallot instead. In going through my fridge, I noticed that I had some unused green beans so I tossed those in as well. This is another recipe you could experiment with and make your own. Take out the sausage and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and you have not only a vegetarian but vegan soup. Don’t add the noodles and it’s gluten-free.

Beans and Greens Soup
3/4lb of sweet Italian turkey sausage
1 shallot chopped (or half of a large onion)
2 garlic cloves chopped
3 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of water
1 can of cannelloni beans
2 handfuls of tiny noodles (I used Acini di Pepe)
2-3 stalks of kale leaves
green beans (optional)
chopped fresh parsley (optional)
grated cheese (optional)

Cook the sausage in a soup pot over medium heat, if you can only find sausage in links then just remove the casing before cooking. Since sausage has some fat in it I didn’t need to use any oil for cooking this. I will mention that I used an enameled dutch oven and not a lot of thinks stick to it. Once this is finished cooking if there is too much fat drain some of it off. I put the lid on the pot leaving a small portion uncovered and tipped it over. Add the onions, cook for a few minutes and add the garlic. Once the onions are translucent start adding the stock and water; add only 2 cups of each reserving the last cups of stock and water near the end. Turn the heat down to medium-low and put the lid on and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the leafy parts of the kale
leaving behind the center stalk. Chop it up and steam it. Once it is slightly wilted, put it ina bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. This step isn’t necessary but I chose to steam thebitterness out of the kale and not have it cook into the soup.

Next, add in the noodles and the cannellini beans. Let simmer for another 10 minutes then add the kale. At this point if you like a soup brothy, add in the remaining cups of stock and water. I used all 3 cups of both. Ladle into bowls and top with parsley and cheese. This should serve about five.

If you have left-overs you might want to add some more broth or water when reheating the soup. I ended up doing this because the broth was slightly absorbed a day later. You’ll also notice that I didn’t use any additional seasonings, this is because the sausage was seasoned enough for my taste.

* I use Pacific organic, low-sodium broth. I prefer to be in control of how much salt goes into my food.
** Use any green you like, spinach, chard or mustard greens

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Elizabeth Porter permalink
    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 6:37 pm

    Ok, can we say YUMMY? I am definitely going to make this. I love kale. This looks like a really nice spring soup.

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