The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sausage and White Bean Soup

Looks like winter is here to stay in Chicagoland!

 Looking out into my back yard.

Looking out my front living room windows.

Winter hit hard this January, and the day before today the high (as in the highest the temperature rose all day) was -18.  That's degrees Fahrenheit.  There's a "-" sign in front of that 18, too, in case you didn't notice at first.  With the wind chill factor, it felt more like -40 to -50 degrees.  There's a reason my pictures were taken from inside, folks!!

That's the road in front of my house--and hey, this is the suburbs!!!

Today would be a day for staying inside, keeping warm, and serving something hearty and filling for dinner.

It ended up being a day to drive over to my parents' for a visit, but I did manage to stay warm, mostly, and I did serve something hearty and filling for dinner.  Fortunately, I have a well-stocked pantry, and we had grocery-shopped for fresh produce and other items late last week.  We could have a blizzard and as long as the power didn't go out, we'd be set for a while.  So, with what I had on hand, it seemed like a good night for soup.

Enough of my story.  I know you really just want to see the recipe.  ;)

Oh, but some notes come first!  Soups aren't that finicky; you can fiddle with them if what's in your pantry doesn't jive with the ingredients below.  For the sausage, a friend had blessed us with Trader Joe's tomato-basil chicken sausage, which we had frozen.  It was amazing in this soup.  You can use a spicier version, or venison sausage, pre-cooked kinds like mine was tonight, or even breakfast sausage and it'll taste good.  Promise.

Change the veggies if you need to.  No spinach?  Use kale.  Or leave it out and serve a simple salad on the side.  No white beans?  Use black, or pinto, or turtle...  I hope you get the idea.  Here we go...

Sausage and White Bean Soup

  • 1.5 pounds sausage
  • about 2 cups chicken broth (or use hot water + chicken bouillon or soup base to make two cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (I used five!)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrot (or slice them if you like)
  • 1 chopped green pepper (I omitted this for tonight's meal)
  • 2 cups (or more) water -- I actually added more chicken soup base to this for taste
  • 2 cups prepared white beans (I used great northern, prepared from dry--you could use two cans drained)
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (or 2 boxes frozen, or whatever!)

If the sausage is not pre-cooked, cut it up and brown it in a large pot (I used a six-quart, and what's a Dutch oven, anyway??).   Cook it in a little oil, or use some of your water or broth if you don't want to use oil (keep adding a little water as it dries out; it works just fine!).

Once the meat is pretty browned (or if it's pre-cooked, then...) add everything else but the beans and spinach to the pot.  Bring to a boil then simmer a while until the carrots and onion are tender.  Then add the beans and spinach and cook a few minutes more until spinach is tender.  Adjust seasonings for taste--add either salt, pepper, more bouillon, or whatever you need.  I added a little salt and pepper.

If there doesn't seem to be a lot of liquid, add some more--either water with bouillon, or some more broth.  I ended up adding a little extra, maybe a cup or two, with some bouillon, and I ended up with about four quarts of soup, at least.  There was plenty to serve my five guys--though they also love making PB&J's on the side on soup nights (long family tradition, no matter the soup, seriously!).

Want a one-pot meal?  Add some cooked pasta, any shape.  Or rice--white or brown, or even wild.  Or some barley.  Or quinoa.  Whatever you've got.  Get those creative soup juices flowing!

Soup hits the spot on cold winter evenings!

Back to life,

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