Prep 20 mins
Cook 35 mins
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!).
This is a great soup! I've made it a few times now and keep trying to add a little more flavor and substance. Here's my changes and both my husband and I think this the best version. Instead of six cups of chicken broth, use 8 cups. One bunch of kale instead of one pound. Add 1/2 teaspoon of oregano when the chicken broth is added. Add 1 cup of dry tortellini and simmer and additional 30 minutes. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Yummy!
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.