November 13, 2006

White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup

I’ve made this soup many times, but I hadn’t made it in 2 years until last week. I’m sure most of you have made this, or at least, heard of this soup, in one of its many variations. I first made it after it graced the cover of an issue of Bon Appetit in either 2001 or 2002. I love this soup’s simple yet hearty flavors. It’s incredibly easy and really good for you! Plus, I’m always partial to rustic dishes like this – there is something so comforting about it. I’ve also come to learn that I love dark greens. I may not love salads, but I could eat braised kale every night of the week. I’m even going to start adding kale to my vegetable soups. Although, it doesn’t impart much flavor, I love the texture it adds.

Since I could never seem to find kale in Paris, (or the sausage, for that matter!) this recipe was forgotten about. But, it’s wonderfully adaptable and a good reminder of how easy it is to make a comforting soup! I’ve made this before with potatoes or small shell pasta instead of the white beans, and I’m going to try different sausage next time. The smoked variety has a nice flavor, but it’s mild, so a spicy Italian sausage might be more up my alley next time. Chorizo would be excellent, as well, for a Portuguese version. Plus, I’m not really crazy about using the grocery store smoked kielbasa in the first place – meat products like that have all sorts of additives in them that make me nervous.

Check out more information about why kale is so good for us!

White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 gloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
Generous 2/3 of one large bunch kale, washed
2 (15 oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
¾ (16 oz) package smoked sausage, kielbasa, or Italian sausage links, sliced
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Optional - drop a chunk of the rind of your block of parmesan cheese into the soup as it simmers. Remove before serving.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the sausage slices and sauté until nicely browned. If using uncooked sausage in casings, sauté until fully cooked. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan. Cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

Tear the kale into bite size pieces and set aside. Deglaze the pan by pouring in a small amount of broth and scraping the bottom of the pot. Pour in the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and pepper. Once the broth is simmering, stir in the kale, cover, and simmer 10 minutes until the kale is wilted completely. Stir in the white beans and cook 5 more minutes until heated through. Serve with some crusty bread and grated parmesan. Serves 8.


Tanna said...

That is so loaded with favorite foods. Yes, I know a hot Italian Turkey sausage from Whole Foods that would be so perfect in this soup.

Ivonne said...

Well I guess that answers my question ... you are blogging ... and making beautiful things as ever!

For some reason Bloglines wasn't picking up your feeds. I've reset it so hopefully I won't miss any more if your beautiful food!

Anonymous said...

love this recipe! I used leeks instead of onion and deglazed with some white wine!

lagatta à montréal said...

Mégane, kale is a staple of Dutch cooking. You can find it frozen anywhere in the Netherlands and probably in Belgium as well, perhaps even in Lille. It is called boerenkool in Dutch and Grünkohl in German. Frozen kale is fine for this recipe.

There are also a lot of Portuguese people in Paris, and one of their most common dishes is a soup made with couve, which is either kale or very similar.

Nancy said...

I just had a delicious version of this soup at Cast Iron Kitchen in Maynard, MA. My son loved it and I can't wait to try your recipe.

JoY said...

That's so funny! I got that very same whole Foods turkey spicy sausage for this soup today! Cant wait to make it. :)

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest low- sodium/sodium- free broth? This soup was fantastic but was a bit too salty for me b/c of the salt from the sausage and the broth--- i added no additional salt. I was able to salvage it by adding more water.

Megan said...

Yes, I generally do always use low-sodium broths. I'm sorry that wasn't clear. You are right - depending on the type of sausage used, it can be a very salty broth. I hope you'll try it again nonetheless. Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Just tried the recipe last week. I usually not that good with cooking but this time, the soup turns out good. I love it!! and the best thing, it's so easy to make. This soup is my new favorite! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Monique said...

I grow lots of kale in my garden so this will be a perfect recipe to make.
I love making homemade chicken or veg. stock from scratch, its easy and that way you can control the saltiness of it. Thanks again for the recipe!