Pulled from Fine Cooking Magazine (Feb/Mar. 2008)--my current FAVORITE cooking magazine. I made it last night for the family, and WHOA, is it good! Granted I am blessed with two little boys and a husband who love nearly all food, but they all liked this one A LOT! It isn't overly brothy--consider adding a couple more cups of broth if you like it more "wet." It's garlicky, fairly simple, and very nutritious! The magazine says it's best served with crusty cheese toasts. I did just that, and served it with (Safeway brand) frozen five-cheese toast. YUM!
- 1⁄2 lb mild Italian sausage, ground
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice (about 2/3 to 3/4 c.)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
- 1 celery rib, cut into small dice
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbls. Don't try to fake it with the jarred stuff!)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 48 ounces organic low sodium chicken broth (6 c.)
- 2 cups cannellini beans (takes 1 1/2 of the standard size cans)
- 1 lb kale, rinsed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces (8 c. firmly packed)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4 or 5-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, working to break into bite sized pieces, until lightly browned, about five minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes more. Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, salt & black pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage along with any collected juices, and HALF of the beans.
- Mash the remaining cup of beans with a fork or wooden spoon and add them to the pot, stirring to distribute.
- Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (I cover the pot loosely during this step to prevent too much reduction in the broth.).
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest just before serving.
- (It's even better the next day!).
Fine Cooking is also my favorite food magazine and I've been making this recipe for several years. I use half again as much onion, carrot and celery and 12 oz hot Italian turkey sausage. I use 2 (14.5 oz) can beans and put one in the mini food processor with about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, of which I use 7 to 8 cups. I find that 8 to 12 oz of kale is enough. We grow kale in our garden and I make this often and give some to a friend who is partially disabled and she just loves it. It also freezes well.
This was a really enjoyable soup. It has become a "keeper". I agree other posters that an extra squeeze of lemon balances it out. For me, I preferred more beans so I muddled about half a cup to give a little more meaty flavor. I didn't want to over do it.
We love this recipe! I will be making it again very soon! Thanks for sharing