A hearty soup to keep you warm

Jennifer Manalili

With fall here and temperatures finally winding down, it feels like the right time to start breaking out a few comfort-food meals to pair with the weather.

Soup can provide a lot of comfort at the end of the day. After all, what’s better than coming home to a bowl full of warm broth with delicious meat and veggies?

This soup pairs spicy Italian sausage with kale and white beans, and makes for a simple, hearty and satisfying meal. This doesn’t require a lot of time, fancy fresh herbs or a lot of ingredients. It may even utilize a lot of things that you already have in your kitchen.

It’s pretty versatile too. Try utilizing your crock pot to make it, enjoying this as an appetizer on Thanksgiving, or use spinach if you don’t have kale on hand. For a vegetarian palate, switch out the sausage for another can of beans, and trade the chicken broth for a veggie-friendly base.

Afterward, grab some bread and enjoy coming home to this for a few days. It makes a large batch of leftovers and the great thing about soups is that it’s all up to you!

White Bean Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage
Adapted from FortheLoveofCooking.net
Start to finish: 70 minutes
Servings: 6-8
3 spicy Italian sausage links, cooked, then diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk and leaves, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
6 to 7 cups of chicken broth
3 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bunches of kale, chopped
Parmesan cheese, if desired

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray, then add the sausages. Cook on all sides until cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes. Slice the sausages down the center length-wise, then place back into the pot to cook on each side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pot and cool before dicing into small bite sized pieces.
Add the olive oil to the pot then toss in the onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring often for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock, white beans and chopped sausage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with the lid and and let simmer for 45 minutes.
Use a blender to blend 2 cups of the soup mixture and then pour it back into the pot and stir. The blended liquid will help the soup thicken.
Add the kale and stir until well combined and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.