In retail, October means Halloween. At the farmstand, October means pumpkin. In The Perfect Pantry's kitchen, October means soup, and signals the return of dark leafy greens to the cooking rotation. The first of many new soup recipes to come, this white bean, chicken sausage and kale soup draws on ingredients I always have in the pantry, plus a bunch of fresh kale. All of my local grocery stores stock a good variety of chicken sausages these days, and I always have a few varieties in my freezer. Use something like tomato and basil, or garlic and onion, in this recipe. Or, if spicy is your thing, try this soup with your favorite spicy sausage. Use a wooden spoon to smash some white beans against the side of the pot; aside from being lots of fun and a great way to purge yourself of any frustrations, this helps to thicken the soup base without any additional thickening agents needed. This is a quick and easy soup to make ahead and freeze, or toss together at the last minute for weeknight dinner.
Smashed white bean, sausage and kale soup
From the pantry, you'll need: white beans, onion, chicken stock, red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil.
I love to make batches of fresh beans in my electric pressure cooker. Canned beans are a fine substitute in this recipe. Serves 6-8.
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz chicken sausage, diced (I like Alfredo's chicken sausage with tomato and basil)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chopped kale
A pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked white beans (or use canned beans, rinsed and drained)
3 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium canned
12 oz tomato juice or V-8 juice
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, and sauté until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, and set aside.
Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the onions. Cook for 2 minutes, until translucent; then, add the kale, and give a couple of stirs so the greens begin to wilt slightly. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.
With a wooden spoon, mash a third of the beans. Then, add the mashed beans and the whole beans to the pot, along with the stock and tomato juice. Raise heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the soup simmer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently, and when you do, mash a few more beans against the side of the pan to help thicken the soup.
Return the sausage to the soup, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot. Or, let the soup cool completely, and freeze.
More beautiful bean soups and stews:
Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup
Everything-from-the-pantry bean soup
Black bean and peach soup
Slow cooker vegan black bean and sweet potato stew
Ribollita (Italian cabbage and bean soup), from The Amateur Gourmet
Chicken and pinto bean soup with lime and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Senate navy bean soup, from Copykat.com
Crock Pot Mexican corn and bean soup, from Weelicious
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