Monday, October 31, 2011

Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup

The ongoing clean-out-the-freezer project offered up a 4-pound package of our favorite Conecuh smoked sausage to be used last week.    The boys and I love smoked sausage in jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice. These days, I am trying to cook lower-carb so went looking for a dish that didn't need rice.  This 5-star recipe of Emeril's for Smoked Sausage and White Bean Soup fit the bill perfectly.  I turned the soup into a true one-pot meal with the addition of a big bunch of kale.  

I usually soak dried beans overnight, then rinse and put them on early in the day so that they'll have time to cook to the right consistency. Last week, I happened across an article on soaking beans in Cook's Illustrated (which unfortunately I cannot link here because they limit access).  The writer recommended not just soaking, but rather brining the beans by adding salt to the water for creamy beans with tender skins.  I used the technique here.

Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup

  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 pound smoked pork sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups roughly chopped fresh kale
  1. Rinse the beans in a colander and pick through them, tossing out any broken or discolored beans.
  2. Fill a large stockpot with cold. water.  Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and stir until it dissolves.  Add the beans.  Leave to soak 10-12 hours or overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 7-10 minutes or until brown and a bit crispy.  Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.
  5. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the sausage back to the pot.   Add the chicken stock and water, then stir in the pepper, cayenne, beans, bay leaves and thyme.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and partially cover the pot.  Cook for around 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Cooking times will vary.  The beans should be soft, creamy and beginning to fall apart.
  8. Skim the fat from the top of the soup.
  9. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt.
  10. Use a potato masher to mash about 1/4 of the beans to thicken the soup.
  11. Stir in the kale and simmer the soup uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  12. Taste and adjust seasoning before ladeling the soup into bowls.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 1/2 hours
Total time: 14 hours (including 10 hours inactive)

Whether attributable to the brining I can't say, but the the beans did have a perfectly creamy consistency and soft skins.  Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup is great, hearty, comfort food for cold fall and winter nights.  We all enjoyed the soup for dinner.  The soup was even better the second time around when I had the leftovers for lunch.

This soup is lined to the Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania, Chef in Training's Tuesday Talent Show and 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday.


The Café Sucré Farine said...

I LOVE this kind of soup; hearty and full of flavor! I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Looks wonderful!

Cynthia said...

This is my kind of soup! I would probably just use canned cannelini beans from Trader Joe's for a super fast version. I love cook's illustrated!

Lynn said...

Thanks. Good point about using canned beans -- it would make a great under-30-minute weeknight meal.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

My kids just love this. Sounds so yummy! Fantastic blog with lovely recipe.
Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you on my blog:)

easynaturalfood said...

This looks really good! I'm hosting a weekly blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, every Sunday. I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more info.

I hope to see you there!

Roux Queen said...

We made this night before last using canned beans due to not planning ahead. It was deliciously rich and satisfying with a hint of heat from the cayenne and cracked black pepper. We have never cooked kale, but found it to be similar to spinach.