Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup
- 5 links (about 1 lb) Italian sausage, hot or mild
- 5 cups fresh kale, packed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 -2 ribs celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 2 whole carrots, diced (1 cup)
- 2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced (4 cups)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
- 4 - 5 cups water
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning, or to taste (such as Tony Chachere's)
- 1 teaspoon dried chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
- optional garnish, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chop the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes; set aside. (I covered the potatoes and carrots with cool water to prevent browning and refrigerated until needed.)
Bring a 3-qt. saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Pierce each sausage a few times with a sharp paring knife then add the links to the boiling water. Return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove sausages to a plate. When the sausages are cool enough to handle, remove the casings and cut the links into 1/4-inch slices.
Meanwhile, remove the stems from the kale and tear the leaves into medium pieces. Discard the stems. Rinse the leaves well in cool water. Transfer to a colander to drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. (Do not brown vegetables.) Add 4 cups water, the chicken broth, kale, and sausage. Bring to a bubble, stirring occasionally; simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, thyme, creole seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add another cup of water if needed. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the rinsed beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot and pass the Parmesan at the table if desired.
Makes 8-12 servings.
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