I am typically a fan of hearty soups with lots of spices, vegetables, or interesting ingredients. Soups that have cooked for hours, simmering into sloppy deliciousness that smell so good, you can’t stop yourself from tasting them now and then. This is not that soup.
That’s not to say that this soup isn’t good. This is an easy, delicious, make-on-Monday-and-eat-during-a-busy-week soup. I call it my Tuscan White Bean and Kale Stew, but that’s making it sound much more cosmopolitan and grandiose than it really is. I just like titles. I know I didn’t really come up with the recipe myself. You can find my starting point here, at Simply Recipes. I started adding things and changing things up based on other recipes, and I came out with more of a soup than a one-pot dish.
- 1 lb. of Italian sausage (I prefer hot, but all I had was sweet)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 5 cloves of minced garlic (I probably used 7. I really like garlic.)
- 1 large potato
- 1-2 cans of white beans (I used cannellini)
- 4 c. chicken or veggie stock
- 3 c. water
- 1-2 bunches of kale (dark, leafy greens FTW!)
- Red pepper flakes (not pictured, because I ran out!)
- Yuengling (Optional. It was a hard day at work. Beer doesn’t go in the soup.)
Brown the sausage in a big pot. Add the red pepper flakes now. (You can skip this if you don’t like spicy food.) If you are using a particularly lean sausage, you may need to add some olive oil. Otherwise, the sausage will brown just fine without added fat.
While browning, slice your veggies, drain the beans, and wash, devein, and tear up the kale. Don’t worry about this too much. I like the onions and garlic to be a little on the big side. (When I chop garlic, which I usually don’t. I totally buy the jarred stuff.) You just want to cube the potatoes enough so that they don’t take forever to soften up.
When the meat is done browning, throw in the onions and potatoes. When they have softened up (when you can go through a potato cube with some, but not a ton of, resistance) put in the garlic and white beans. Continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant (aka, it makes you want to eat everything in the pot) but is not burned. Nobody likes burned garlic.
Add the stock and water, as well as your salt and pepper. At this time, I sometimes add some parsley, or oregano, or thyme, or whatever I grab out of the cabinet. I’m very inconsistent about my spices, so I rarely add them into a recipe in any formal way unless they’re a must.
Let everything come to a boil.
At this time, I usually run a potato masher through the pot, mashing up some of the beans and potatoes to give the soup some body. This is an optional step, but I think it’s worth it. NOTE: Do not use an immersion blender. It will also blend the sausage, and you will choke on tiny pieces of sausage. This is not a personal story or anything.
Turn off the heat and add the kale. It’s going to look like a lot at first, but it wilts fast. You’ll know when it’s ready when the kale turns an even more vibrant green than it already is. At this point, take the soup entirely off the heating element and serve.
This recipe probably makes 8 generous servings. It takes about 10 minutes of active work and 15 minutes of snuggling your pet of choice or watching TV. I like this recipe because it’s easy, it gets some veggies (especially wintry veggies) into my system, and it’s still delicious. I also strongly suspect that it is highly adaptable. You can add extra kale if you’re feeling like you need the vitamin K, you can use chicken sausage, you can add extra beans or potatoes to bulk it up, you can go through a thorough fridge/freezer clean and add in produce that’s going to die soon. I really want to do it with smoked sausage, sweet potatoes, and lentils, just to see what would happen, but so far, I’m so happy with the current results that I haven’t gotten there yet!