This year has probably been one of the coldest that we, New Englanders, have had in quite a few years. We have also been making more soup recipes than ever before because for us it is true comfort food at our house. Making a big pot of soup on a Sunday and using it for dinners and lunches makes for an easy week when you work long days.
As we became accustomed to new variations of chicken soups and lentil soups, conversation around a hearty kale soup began. Jeff was looking for some new soup and stew recipes when he found this recipe for Beans with Kale and Portuguese Sausage on Epicurious.com. It looked easy to make and there is nothing better than white beans, Portuguese sausage and kale, with a spicy kick from some crushed red pepper flakes...COMFORT FOOD!
This was an easy recipe to put together especially since we decided not to use dried beans. We chose to use canned beans and it cut the cooking time down by 1 hour. For me, it means we can put this dish together in about an hour, not bad on a busy work night. Some of our soup recipes call for 2-3 hours of cooking time so those become Sunday projects as the soup can cook while we do other things (like clean the house - LOL).
The soup was delicious and very hearty. I loved the heat from the crushed red pepper flakes which get calmed with the beans and kale. On a cold night it warms you all over. It was funny, we made the soup a few nights before my son, Brian, left to study abroad in Prague for his spring college semester. He had been home for a month, enjoying some serious home cooking. "This is the best soup I've ever had", probably the 8 best words most cooks like to hear. But then again, at our house, many recipes get made once and then on to a new recipe.
Maybe we'll make this soup again in May when he returns home or find another recipe to hear those 8 great words..."This is the best ______ I've ever had!"
Beans with Kale and Portuguese Sausage Soup (adapted from Epicurious):
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 8 ounces of Portuguese sausage or kielbasa, sliced 1/2" thick
- 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 small piece of Parmesan rind (about 2 inches)
- 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups of chicken stock
- 1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans of white cannelini or navy beans, rinsed
- 4 cup of kale, loosely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning and taste
1. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the sausage until slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the onion and garlic cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the wine and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the wine is reduced by half, add the Parmesan rind, red pepper flakes, thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock and tomatoes.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add the beans and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
5. Return to medium heat and add the kale, cook for 10 minutes and then add the lemon juice.
6. Season with salt and pepper.