By Karen Schulz
There are three excellent reasons to love soup on a cold snowy February day.
1. It’s hard to mess up, and ingredients are easily substituted depending on what you have in your pantry.
2. It is warm, filling, and satisfying whether you play in the snow or are tucked in by the fire.
3. Soup recipes yield plenty to share with friends and family who may pop by unannounced, or to freeze for another day.
This recipe for Sausage and Bean Soup with Winter Vegetables will definitely become a regular in my house due to the ease in making it. It is chock-full of protein and vegetables, and, of course, delicious.
You can use any sausage you like — sweet, spicy, chicken, and so on. You can use whatever vegetables you like — turnips, parsnips, squash, or sweet potato. And you can use whatever greens you like — Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens. Feel free to experiment and see what happens.
A big pot of soup can be made in advance and is therefore a convenient option for busy households. And, since it is a one-pot meal, cleanup is a snap.
So enjoy these wintery snowy days over some nourishing soup.
<<Sausage and Bean Soup with Winter Vegetables>>
4 T. olive oil
3 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
¼ t. fennel seeds
¼ t. chili flakes
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 t. kosher salt
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
1 t. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf
2 parsnips, diced (about 1½ cups)
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
1½ quarts (6 cups) chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained
1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks removed and roughly torn
In a Dutch oven, or any heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 T. olive oil on medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon as it browns.
Add in the fennel seeds, chili flakes, and 1 t. salt. When the sausage is nicely browned and fully cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove from the pot, leaving whatever oil is left in the pan. Set the sausage aside in a bowl.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions, garlic, and 1 t. salt to the pot, scraping up all the brown bits from the sausage. Add the remaining 2 T. olive oil to the pan. Let this cook, and almost caramelize for about 10 minutes.
Add in the carrot, celery, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Let these vegetables and herbs cook for another 10 minutes or so. Now, add the parsnip and sweet potato along with the stock, 1 t. salt, and can of tomatoes.
Cover the pot and let this simmer for about 35-40 minutes, just until the parsnips and sweet potato have softened.
Add the sausage, beans, and greens to the pot. Let them simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, just until all the flavors have melded.