The high here today is -17°. (Yes, there is a negative sign before that number.) The wind chill is going to be -35° to -65°. It’s going to be the coldest day in decades. The meteorologists are telling everyone to hunker down and bundle up for the arctic blast. Awesome. People are freaking out about it, too. Shelves at the grocery store are bare, there are lines at the gas pumps. Sounds like there’s nothing left to do but eat! I’m making soup.
Most of the recipes for hearty “comfort-food” soups contain cream. Since I’m trying to be healthy, I wanted to find a way to get that creamy, silky texture but without all the fat. So I thought, hmmm … what if I added some white beans to the pot and just boiled the you-know-what out of them? To my surprise, it totally worked! The beans melted right into the broth making it look and feel like a cream-based soup! Maybe if your Anthony Bourdain you’d be able to tell the cream was missing, but if you’re just a regular eater like me, then I say: success!
A Good Place to Start
Italian sausage, potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, corn, chicken stock and / or broth, kale, white beans, butter, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning
Brown up that sausage right in your soup pot. I used half hot and half mild Italian sausage, but you could use all mild or all hot or even turkey or reduced fat sausage. When there is no more pink, transfer the sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Leave the drippings in the pan. (Hey, I just said there was no cream – I didn’t say it was completely healthy!)
Saute your onions and garlic in the fat with about 1/4 tsp salt.
Add the potatoes and the Italian seasoning. Cook until the potatoes begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
Add the carrot and white beans.
Add the chicken stock and chicken broth. I like to start with reduced or no sodium broth and stock so I have more control over the salt content. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
Add the butter. Butter is good. And it makes the broth creamy and rich.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the beans melt into the broth.
Add the cooked sausage back to the pot. Add the kale.
Kale is awesome! If you’ve never cooked with kale, don’t be afraid – it’s easy and practically impossible to mess up. I put kale in almost everything (casseroles, soups, enchiladas, salads, you name it!). At first it might seem like you’re adding a LOT to your dish, but kale cooks down a ton as it simmers.
I like kale raw in salads, but if I’m adding it to hot dishes, I like to cook it until it’s nice and soft, which takes about 15 minutes or so. See the difference?
Add the frozen corn. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Top with bacon crumbles. Or if you’re lazy like me, just add the bacon right to the pot. The bacon is optional in this recipe – the soup tastes great without. But, we all know bacon makes everything better, right? Serve with crusty bread.
Sausage, Potato, Kale, and White Bean Soup
- 2 lbs Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, diced fine
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or minced
- 3 lbs potatoes, mix of red and Russet
- 1 lb carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 4 Cups unsalted good quality chicken stock
- 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 15-oz cans of white beans (Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
- 1 10.8-oz bag frozen corn
- 2 bunches kale, cleaned and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 – 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional (but why would you skip the bacon?)
- Brown the sausage until no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- In the sausage fat, cook the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the potatoes and Italian seasoning. Stir and cook until potatoes begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
- Add the carrot and white beans.
- Add the chicken stock and chicken broth. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
- Add the butter.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the beans begin to melt into the broth.
- Add the sausage to the pot.
- Add the kale. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the frozen corn. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Top with bacon crumbles as a garnish and serve with crusty bread.