Sunday, January 22, 2012

Italian Sausage & White Bean Soup

We just ate the last leftovers of this soup for lunch today and I was reminded how delicious it was.  The spicy sausage, savory homemade chicken broth, white beans, and zesty mustard greens all combine for a hearty and heart-warming bowl of soup that is a meal all in itself.  The fresh thyme adds just the right amount of herbal flavor to round out the dish, and it smells wonderful.  After a walk home in the freezing cold after watching the Bokamoso youth choir perform, it really hit the spot!

1-1/2 lbs ground hot Italian sausage (or a mixture of hot and sweet)
1 T olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
5 carrots, peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can of white cannellini beans (or other white bean)
4 cups homemade chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
1x3 inch Parmesan cheese rind
about 5 cups mustard greens, washed and torn into bite size pieces (you could also use kale)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the sausage, breaking it up as it browns.

When the sausage is done, drain it and set aside in a bowl to add later.  If more than 2 T of fat has rendered, spoon some of it out before adding the vegetables.  It is okay if there are pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot because you will deglaze later.  Leave the heat over medium and add the onion, carrot, and garlic to the pan.  Stir and add 1/2 t salt and some fresh ground black pepper.  After about 2 minutes, add the wine and stir, scraping any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Continue cooking until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes total.  In the last two minutes of cooking add the fresh thyme.

 Add the beans, broth, and water, Parmesan rind and sausage into the pot.  Bring to a boil, and simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Add the mustard greens to the pot, stir, and cook for 5-10 minutes longer.  Leave the lid off if you want to reduce the liquid.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Depending on the saltiness of your broth you may need to add 1-2 teaspoons salt.  

Serve and grate Parmesan cheese on top of each bowl.  We had this with some fresh baked black caraway bread.  So delicious on a cold winter day!

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