I have a new love affair. Actually, I have two. Kale and brussels sprouts are on my mind this week. In preparation for the big Thanksgiving feast (and my comfort food binge this weekend), I wanted something healthy, something I wouldn't feel bad about in between the weekend and the holiday. What I came up with is an easy weeknight soup that can be modified just about any way you want. I used kale in this hearty soup, but you could easily use any other green, or broccoli, or pretty much any other vegetable you think would go well. This is one of those soups that if you have a CSA share like I do, you can get away with dumping in whatever leftovers you might have at the end of the week and clear our that produce bin.
"Gourmet Recipes for One" and she created what's now one of my favorite recipes of all time for the little green guys - Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad. That's the salad to your left, isn't it beautiful? It's easily adaptable as well. I didn't have cranberries, or blue cheese, or arugula so I messed with it, instead using Parmesan cheese and napa cabbage that I had on hand. The star of this salad are those sweet roasted sprouts, you have to make this one.
The pairing of this salad and soup is fabulous and a perfect way to lead into Thanksgiving or recover form it, when you finally get sick of turkey. Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!
Sausage, Kale, and Bean Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 links hot Italian Turkey Sausage (or regular, or chicken sausage), removed from casings
5 small shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, chopped roughly
32 oz chicken stock or broth (if you use low-sodium, adjust salt to taste)
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cannellini beans (roughly 15oz can if using canned)
Warm one teaspoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and proceed to brown, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon along the way. When sausage is nicely browned, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
In the same dutch oven (still on medium heat), add a teaspoon of olive oil, and cook shallots and garlic until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Now, push the shallots/garlic to the side of the dutch oven, add a splash of chicken broth and proceed to deglaze the bottom of that dutch oven, getting all those yummy leftover sausage bits into the mixture here. Once bottom of the pan is deglazed, add kale and red pepper flakes, tossing to coat in shallots and garlic. Cook kale until it decreases in size, about 5-6 minutes.
Get that sausage you have sitting there and put it back into the dutch oven. You now can now add the rest of your chicken stock and water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring entire mixture to a boil and then right back down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and add your beans. Allow to simmer on the stove for another 10 minutes (20 minutes total) and serve piping hot with a little bit of Parmesan cheese on top.