It is mid-afternoon here and has warmed up to a nice, balmy 4 degrees. That's an improvement over the ten below that it was when I got up this morning. I hope you are warm and toasty wherever you are reading this. It was a very busy weekend around here for me. After I tackled the Green Monster on Saturday, I had all sorts of energy. It seemed to have triggered a cooking frenzy around here as I tried to cook absolutely everything in the house. Since I have several things to share from the weekend, I will break it up into different posts.
I had originally planned to make Jerk Chicken for dinner Saturday evening to go with the plantains that I received last week; however, due to the cold weather, David was craving something hot....like pasta.....or anything Italian really. He's not that picky. I love pasta. I really do. However, I like my pasta simply dressed....with pesto....or oil, garlic...a little lemon....a little freshly grated parmesan cheese and/or with veggies. You know, the lighter side of pasta? David likes spaghetti with a hearty meat sauce or alfredo sauce. He likes anything that is heavy and meaty and cheesy. My system just can't handle all of that.
I suggested to him that I had some Italian Sausage and Kale and how about a soup......with cheese......okay maybe I will use the spinach instead of kale, if he insisted.....and a compromise was born and I didn't have to prepare pasta after all. I ended up talking him into the kale before it got to that step and he thanked me....again.....for making the right decision and using it instead of the spinach. Kale just holds up so much better in soups, in my opinion, than spinach does.
Saturday evening was a time of creating in the kitchen for me. It was a time of pulling veggies out that needed to be used and mixing them together to create a most wonderful meal that tickled our taste buds and warmed our tummies. I usually don't document these times in the kitchen so it's difficult for me to recreate the same dish the same way again. I did try to capture the ingredients and some photos this time and I'm so glad that I did. I will definitely be making this again. Blogging has definitely improved my life! So moving right along, I give you....
Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup
I started off with 2 1/2 links of Hot Italian Sausage...
I usually use turkey Italian sausage but this seemed a like a better choice this time. I love Hannaford's selection of Nature's Place meats. No antibiotics....no added hormones...vegetarian fed....no animal by-products in the feed. It is not locally sourced but I think it's an improvement over some of the stuff that I've bought over the years. I, also, didn't feel the need to put a whole lot more of the meat in this dish. Once upon a time, I would have used more of it and our portions would have been larger. I'm trying to adjust the portion sizes these days and I'm, also, trying to get more meals out of the meat that I buy. It costs more to eat this way but I think it's worth it.
I began by browning the sausage in a stock pot. Once the sausage was browned, I drained it but I did not wipe out the pot. While the sausage was draining on paper towels, I added the following to the pot where I had browned the sausage....
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/8 cup chopped garlic
1/8 cup chopped shallot
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped scallions
I added a tablespoon or so of olive oil, some salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes and Perfect Pinch Mediterranean Seasoning. I didn't measure the seasonings so I don't know the amounts that I added. I just start shaking them on there so use your discretion.
I sautéed the vegetables until they began to soften and added a pinch of freshly chopped rosemary.
I stirred the rosemary around with the vegetables and when that began to be fragrant and the veggies softened a bit more, I added 1/2 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.
I wish you could have smelled this when the wine hit the pot. It was smelling good to begin with; but when the wine hit the hot pan and mixed with the veggies and the herbs, there are not enough words to describe how good that smelled.
I continued cooking until the wine had evaporated, carefully scraping the sausage bits from the bottom of the pot or as Emeril calls them....."the yum yums!" Next I added to the pot, 2 cans of drained and rinsed Cannellini Beans.
I added back in the drained sausage...
And 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth....
And 1/2 can of drained petite cut tomatoes and a little extra water....
It's starting to look good now and you wouldn't believe the smell at this point....
Next I threw in 2 bay leaves, 1 can of Cannellini beans, drained and mashed and 2 tsp. of honey and let that simmer on the stove for awhile to mix the flavors together, stirring occasionally. After it had been simmering for awhile and after a quick stir and taste, I added 1/2 cup of Pecorino cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and a hanful of chopped kale. I promised David that it would be cheesy and he was right about that addition. The cheese provided the soup this full-bodied flavor that it was lacking without the addition.
We have smelled this cooking long enough. It's time to serve the soup.
We added some warm, rustic bread...
And this was a very tasty, tummy warming meal. David loved it!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you are having a great day!