As is my tradition, for the next three or four weeks, this baking blog will be a little light on the sweets and treats. It’s not that I don’t love making them anymore—that’s definitely not the case!—it’s just that I need to eat some non-sugary, non-flour-based food.
I mean, I ate vegetables over the holidays. But I also ate bread, cheese, chocolate covered pecans, a small slice of Chocolate Cream Pie, a not-small slice of Vanilla Layer Cake, my friend David’s wicked-good habanero cheese grits, a Bavarian Ham Sandwich that was basically the best thing I’ve ever eaten, a peanut butter cookie that was delightfully crumbly and tasted sort of like bacon (?), a Costco croissant that I enjoyed more than I’d like to admit, and fudge. So much fudge. Why did nobody tell me how good fudge is?!
Um…all that is to say, I need to eat some real food. That doesn’t mean a month of boring recipes though—boring doesn’t fly around here. Nope.
First up is this Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup. It’s a wintertime favorite of mine, and almost everyone I make it for asks for the recipe. I’ve made it three times since Thanksgiving and went to a dinner party where it was served. What I’m saying is that once you try this soup, you’re going to want to make it again and again.
Beyond being hearty and full of vegetables, Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup is way easy and comes together in under an hour. Just brown the sausage and add some mirepoix (fancy French word for carrot/celery/onion) and garlic. Throw in some tomato paste, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and chicken stock before stirring in two cans of cannellini beans, some torn kale and a little parsley.
That’s it. Super easy. Pretty good for you too.
So easy and so good for you, in fact, that you’ll have time to make and batch of Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits and won’t feel too bad about eating two of them. That recipe will be up Friday!
Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup
makes 3 quarts, 4-6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
3 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into thin half-moons
3 stalks celery, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups chicken stock
2-4 cups water (as needed)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
1 bunch lacinato kale, cleaned, stems removed and torn into pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher or sea salt to taste, if needed
Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot.
Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften (about 8-10 minutes). Return sausage to the pan, add tomato paste and stir to coat. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until tomato paste begins to darken. Add bay leaves, thyme, optional red pepper flakes, chicken stock, and enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Remove bay leaves. Add beans and kale and let cook 5-7 more minutes, until greens have wilted a bit. Stir in parsley. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve.
Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.