Need dinner in a pinch? Colorful and comforting, this stew-like Speedy Sausage and White Bean Soup satisfies, and in quick fashion. There’s a lot of rosemary in the dish, but it doesn’t overwhelm—the sausage and hearty vegetables can more than handle it. Combined with our homemade chicken stock, this soup was definitely something to write home about!
To bump up the health factor, increase the amount of kale and beans and reduce the sausage to a 1/2 pound; and/or substitute turkey sausage. Our changes included using cannellini beans (as oppposed to the Great Northern) and a double-dose of curly kale. BTW, all beans are considered low GI, but with a GI score of 31, cannellini beans are clearly one of the least glycemic beans, and this low GI rating is responsible for many of the health benefits of said bean. What’s more, foods with a low glycemic score can help you shed off pounds, especially around the waist… I’m listening…
White Bean 101: Cannellini, Great Northern and Navy are three popular types of white beans. What’s the difference between them you ask?
Cannellini beans are large and have that traditional kidney shape. With a slightly nutty taste and mild earthiness, they have a relatively thin skin and tender, creamy flesh. They hold their shape well and are one of the best white beans for salads and ragouts.
Great Northern beans are smaller than cannellinis and and suitable for any number of uses: salads, soups, stews, ragouts, purees. Their texture is slightly grainy, with a nutty, dense flavor. Popular in North America, Great Northerns look like white baby lima beans.
Navy beans are small and oval and cook relatively quickly. Known as Boston beans, the white coco, pea beans or alubias chicas, Navy beans are perfect for dishes that don’t need the full bean shape to shine: purees, soups, stews and baked beans.
Now that you are a white bean connoisseur, go ahead and use them interchangeably in future recipes—or this one for starters…
NOTE: If your grocery store does not carry bulk sausage, buy the fat sweet links and remove the casings.
Speedy Sausage, Tomato and White Bean Soup
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
- 1 15.5-oz. can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 oz. (or more) curly kale, tough stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped (about 2-4 packed cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, for serving
- Crusty bread (optional)
- In a 5- to 6-quart dutch oven or similar heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up, until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the onion, carrot, and potato to the pot, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and rosemary, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes, and stock, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, skimming as needed.
- Add the kale and reserved sausage, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the cheese and with crusty bread, if you like.
By Christine Burns Rudalevige from Fine Cooking