Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup
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By Emily McLaughlin
Fall is well under way (aside from the minor heat wave this weekend), which means that it is time for hot chocolate, warm soups and pumpkin flavored coffee. Recipes are sprouting up all over the internet for Fall-inspired meals, so I took the liberty of concocting my own; how about some chicken sausage and kale soup?
When you are making a big batch of soup, use your imagination–you really can’t go wrong. Take this endeavor as an opportunity to use up all the veggies you have been meaning to eat. I had a few links of chicken sausage and a strange array of vegetables that needed to be cooked, so I essentially just put them all in a pot and stirred. Measurements and quantities don’t really matter too much when it comes to soup, so don’t stress about the numbers. Here is a very basic recipe, the flavors your choose to add will help make the soup your own.
- Chicken sausage – Obviously you can substitute chicken sausage for beef, turkey or vegetarian sausage. Also, the flavor sausage is completely up to you. I had some spicy-Italian sausages to use up, so my soup ended up having a little kick.
- Beans - Today I used mostly white beans, then threw in the small amount of kidney beans I had been meaning to finish.
- Rice - Rice, orzo pasta or quinoa are a great additions to your soup. Try to buy brown rice and use whole wheat orzo pasta if you can find it. This will make your soup more filling and a whole lot heartier.
- Onion – Use 1/4 to 1/2 of a white onion, diced. Onions bring out the flavors of everything else in your soup.
- Potatoes – For my soup I used yams since I had half of one lying around–you could use any kind of potato.
- Kale – I am obsessed with kale not only because it’s delicious, but because it is healthy and inexpensive.
- Misc. vegetables – I had some mushrooms and a little bit of spinach to use up, so those went into my soup as well. The more vegetables the merrier!
- Broth – 1-2 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth depending on your desired consistency.
- Canned, diced tomatoes (with no salt added) - Use one whole can, juices and all. If you are making a spicier or a garlic-infused soup, you can find pre-seasoned, low-sodium canned tomatoes.
- Spices - What kind of flavors are you craving? Spiciness? Grab some chili powder and cumin. An Italian blend? Try minced garlic, some basil and maybe some oregano.
You will need a medium skillet and large cooking pot for this soup project.
If you are using dry beans or rice, prepare them a whole day in advance or get them started a hour before you start making your soup (there are usually cooking instructions on the packaging). If you are using canned beans, take some time to drain and rinse them.
Peel and dice your vegetables and chop your sausage into bite-size pieces.
- In large skillet, heat a tablespoon (maybe a little more) of olive oil over medium heat; add the sausage and cook until browned.
- Remove the sausage from the skillet and toss it into your large cooking pot, leaving any greases from the sausage in the skillet.
- If needed, add a little bit of olive oil to your skillet followed by your diced onions and potatoes. After a few minutes, add the kale, spices and the rest of your vegetables. Continuously stir the skillet to cook them evenly. Once all the vegetables are softened add them to the sausage.
- Put your large cooking pot on low heat and add your beans (strained and rinsed), tomatoes (whole can) broth. Give your concoction a little taste test and see if you need more spices. Finally, let your soup simmer and warm up to your desired temperature.
That’s it; you’re done. Pour yourself a bowl of soup and enjoy. Now (if you didn’t share), you probably have a lot of leftovers, right? Let your creation come down to room temperate and refrigerate and/or freeze it. And remember… Don’t stress about making soup… It’s only soup!