This is a pretty simple soup. I'm sure you make your own version of it. You certainly don't need anyone to tell you how to do it. But if you're like me, sometimes it takes seeing a photo of a big steaming bowl of it to set things in motion.
The only problem with bean soups is the bean dilemma...canned or dried? Dried beans taste so much better than the water-logged canned, but what a pain. That's why I like white beans, they are tiny and cook up a bit quicker. I just brought them to a boil and then turned off the heat and soaked them for an hour. Then cooked them in new water for about an hour and they were done.
There are lots of variations of this soup, but most of them work off the same framework. It's healthy Mediterranean cuisine at it's core. Everybody likes to do it a little differently. I like to add some tomato to most of my chicken broth soups, otherwise, for me anyway, they just don't have enough body or depth of flavor. Tomatoes takes care of this. Sometimes I'll add diced, sometimes pureed, sometimes just a squeeze of paste. There's a lot of variety in the canned tomato aisle. My newest obsession is the fire roasted, but whatever you use, tomatoes will add color and another layer of flavor.
This is hardly a recipe, more of a guide:
White Bean and Sausage Soup
2 heaping cups cooked white beans (I cooked 1 cup dried beans and I had lots leftover) olive oil 2 raw sausages (any kind, I used smoked) 1 large leek, sliced and washed 2 carrots, peeled and sliced in large chunks 1 clove garlic, minced 1/3 cup dry white wine 1 quart chicken broth 1 cup tomato puree 2 bay leaves fresh thyme 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes a big handful of chopped kale salt Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
In a heavy bottomed soup pot drizzle a little olive oil and cook the sausage. I just squeeze the meat out of the casing and brown it, but you can also cook the sausages whole and then slice them.
When the sausage is cooked, take it out of the pot and set aside. Put a little more olive oil in the pot, add the leeks and saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the carrots and garlic and cook them a little bit longer. Then you can add the sausage back in and hit everything with the white wine. Cook for a minute, stirring up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the stock, tomato puree and one cup of the beans. (One cup will have a chance to get nice and soft, while the rest of the beans will be added at the end to retain their firm texture) Season with salt, bay leaves, red pepper and thyme. Bring to a simmer and gently cook, partially covered, for abut 1/2 hour or until the carrots are tender. Add the last cup of beans to the soup.
At this point I let the soup rest on the stove till close to mealtime. I think soups always benefit from hanging out. They mature and mellow. All good things.
When you're ready to eat, reheat the soup and taste for seasoning. I put the chopped kale in at the last minute and just cook until it's wilted. Serve with some Parmesan grated on top.
Even better the next day.
Sue/the view from great island