This soup is perfect for autumn and winter - it's hearty and healthy with creamy white beans, green kale, and a little bit of Italian sausage for richness - of course, feel free to use turkey or vegetarian sausage if you prefer. It's also a quick dinner or lunch, especially if you use canned beans - I had some cooked beans left over from another recipe, so I used those, but I wouldn't cook up beans specifically for this soup. The Parmesan rind sounds a little weird, but I had one on hand so I figured I would try it! It gets a little gross after cooking in the broth, so be sure to pull it out before serving - but I do think it added a little bit of je ne sais quoi to the dish, so give it a shot if you have some on hand! I made this soup on the less-brothy side just because that's what I was in the mood for, but you can easily add more chicken broth if you prefer.
Kale and White Bean Soup with Italian Sausage (adapted from Fine Cooking)
2/3 pound sweet Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
A sprig of rosemary or two, leaves stripped off stem and finely chopped
2 T tomato paste
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked white beans - I used Great Northern
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stem and finely chopped
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Check the pot and add a little more oil if it seems dry (I found that the sausage created plenty, but your mileage may vary). When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to get soft, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring, about a minute. Pour in the broth along with the beans, kale, and Parmesan rind (if using). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
3. Remove the Parmesan rind from the pot and add in the cooked sausage. Cook about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to combine, and then taste and adjust for salt and pepper.