Monday, February 10, 2014

White Beans, Kale, and a Whole Lotta Other Stuff Soup

Sometimes I get these fantastic ideas in my head and they turn out not to be so swell when it comes time to execute them. For example, when I made that "deconstructed" cassoulet the other day, I had two duck legs (one for each of us) but I made way more white beans than necessary. So I plopped the leftovers into a container and put it in the fridge to use when inspiration struck.

Inspiration came pretty quickly. I remembered that we had a partial bag of kale in the freezer, and figured that white beans + kale would make a lovely soup. But when I dumped the leftover beans into a saucepot, there was far less left-over than I thought there was. And there wasn't all that much kale, either. Once I poured in a couple cups of chicken stock, the soup seemed a bit insipid. But that was going to be dinner and I had to do something to beef it up, so to speak.

I went back to the freezer to rummage for more ingredients. I found two partial bags of corn kernels, and a few green beans in another package. I pulled out the chicken andouille sausage we had just purchased from Trader Joe's the day before and hacked off two of the frozen links, popping them in the microwave to thaw enough for me to chop them. The original beans were flavored with andouille, so this was a perfect addition. I also grabbed a can of tomatoes from the cupboard, and used a bit of tomato paste as well.

After a vigorous 20-minute simmer, the beans had broken down considerably, the tomatoes had lost their canned taste, and the sausage lent a spicy meatiness to the soup. A grating of fresh cheese on top gave it just a tiny bit more depth, and a freshly-baked loaf of bread made it dinner.

Leftover White Bean and Kale Soup

1 cup leftover white beans (or 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen kale
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Bouquet Garni seasoning, or add rosemary and thyme to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes and their juice
1 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 andouille sausages, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Add everything except salt and pepper and cheese to a 2 quart sauce pot. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. If you're using the can of beans, stir frequently to break them up a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in wide bowls with a grating of fresh Parm or other hard cheese on top.

Serves 2-4.

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