Way back on January 3rd of this year, my honey sent me an email with the subject line “Soup Recipes!” The body of the email was a link from esquire.com, and did not contain what I would normally consider very Esquire-y content: a slide show of fifty “cold-weather soup recipes” collected from a whole bunch of different food blogs. I did not expect gems, and I think I may have ignored it, because a few hours later I got another email, this time titled “Soups!!” (up to two exclamation points, so we know he means business), with a pared down collection of five links from the original fifty. That I could work with. I picked the one that sounded best to me, “Rustic Tuscan-Style Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup” from a new to me blog called Shared Appetite, and holy heck did I (we!) pick a winner.
I don’t do a ton of recipe repeating, beyond a few favorites that I turn to again and again. The equation of how much I like to experiment in the kitchen plus how many nights a week I don’t cook equals not too many shots for a recipe to sneak into my regular rotation. But this soup has made the cut like whoa. I’ve made it more frequently than any other recipe this winter, and Hal has requested even more often than that. It takes a bit of time, but is still totally do-able for a weeknight, requires only one (big!) pot and a cutting board, and it is just so flipping tasty. It’s hearty and so savory, full of healthy veggies, and packs in plenty of protein from the white beans and sausage. Really truly a perfect one pot meal.
This soup gets credit for something no other recipe has so far been able to do: make me like leafy greens in soup. Just now, trying to decide how to describe the way I typically feel about greens in soup, I realized I was scrunching up my nose in a distinctly ew gross face: and that’s about the size of it. This is not something I’m proud of–there are so many gorgeous soup + greens recipes out there!–but anything leafy I’ve ever added to a soup has always struck me as slimy and to be diligently avoided. No more! We’ve shared some mixed feelings on kale here at butter poached, but it really does stand up well in this instance, which both surprised and pleased me. Consider me a leafy greens soup convert…at least in this case.
In the original recipe for this delightful soup, the author allows as how it’s even better the next day, and recommends making it a day before you plan on having it for dinner. As much as I love the idea of adding more meal prep to my life, I am definitely not in the place of making full meals for future days, and the first time I made it was absolutely the night I planned on eating it. And I thought it was perfectly delicious. I took leftovers to work with me the next day, and dang it if it didn’t taste even better! I still haven’t managed to make it a day ahead (what would one have for dinner on the day that one did that, with a whole amazing smelling pot of soup staring one in the face?), but I do feel wonderfully ahead of the game every time I make something that produces such especially deelish leftovers.
sausage, white bean, and kale soup
from Shared Appetite
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely diced
1 large potato, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 (15 ounce) cans white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 bunches kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized bits
6 1/2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, approximately 10 minutes.
Add onion, carrots, potato and bay leaves. Season with kosher salt and cook until vegetables start to soften, stirring occasionally, 10-ish more minutes.
Add garlic and beans, stir to combine, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in kale and cook until it becomes slightly wilted (and decreases hugely in size! this never ceases to amaze me).
Add chicken stock, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover soup and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes (longer is fine, too, but you’re gonna be ready to eat after 45).