Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sausage kale bean soup

My mom always told my sister and me not to play with our food.  She also told us to actually eat said food rather than pushing it around the plate trying to make it look like we ate more than we actually did.  I employed that technique every time we had spinach of any kind, but that wise way-too-observational-for-my-own-good woman saw right through it.  Drat.

Wouldn't you know that I now love spinachSo, so much!  Go figure.

What my mom didn't tell us was that we should be nice to our food.  After all, food is there to help you and make you happy!  Treat it with the same respect you would fine China.  Or that dry-clean only dress that you absolutely had to have and actually heed the care label's instructions. 

Nothing irks me more than when the bagger at the grocery store tosses around my bananas or smushes my bread with a bag of heavy canned goods.  I want to scream, "Be nice to my food, please!"  But I've decided that there is no un-catty way of saying that, no matter how hard I try.  I've since taken to bagging my own groceries if possible :)

After all, I love food, all food, but especially my food.  I know it's going to come home with me and meet up with some friends and, with a little TLC, turn into an absolutely mouth-watering meal.

Since kale and I aren't quite as chummy as spinach and I are, I wanted to give it the four star treatment.

A"haircut."  A nice massage to relieve any tension that may have resulted from the journey home.  And a hot bath with some vibrant and delicious new friends -- beans, sausage, and tomatoes

And you know what?  I think kale had a blast.  In fact, I'd say that this was only the beginning of a wonderful friendship.  Because after I gave, gave, gave, kale turned around and just gave in, yielding the most comforting and easiest soup I've made in recent memory!

The once tough green became soft and tender in its chicken broth bath, mingling with the intense flavors from the sausage and tomatoes, while letting the beans join the toasty party.

Love this soup.  Love this fall weather.  But really, I love this soup!  And how cozy and satisfied I feel after enjoying a big bowl of it.  All zen and lovey dovey and happy.  I'm even risking sounding like some flower child to tell you how much I love it and how you will, too.  Please don't make me risk such things for nothing :)

Two years ago: Turkey meatloaf with fontina cheese and mushrooms

Sausage, Kale and Bean Soup
(adapted from Cooking Light)
-serves 4

A few notes: This is legitimately the easiest and fasted soup I've ever made.  Perfect for a weeknight!  One quick note regarding the sausage -- feel free to use links with some more heat like chorizo or hot Italian sausage if you like the extra kick.  Or, if you'd like to limit the fat content, ground turkey or beef would be good substitutes.  To make it vegetarian, simply double the quantity of beans.

1 teaspoon olive oil
6 ounces uncooked sausage, casings removed (I used red wine and garlic chicken sausage)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chopped kale (about 8 ounces)
1 (14.5 ounce) can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add sausage to pan, break up with a wooden spoon or spatula, stirring until cooked completely, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir in the kale.  Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until the kale is tender. Stir in beans, and cook 1 minute or until soup is thoroughly heated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

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