Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Andouille Sausage and White Bean Soup - Soup Weather Part Deux

There are as many incarnations of this soup recipe as there are variations on a basic red pasta sauce. The only thing on which the various versions can concur is that the creamy, nutty taste of white beans and their broth is a perfect marriage with the earthy taste of leafy greens and the lusciously fatty, zingy taste of Cajun style pork sausages. This variation on the recipe calls for a bouquet garni, a small bundle of herbs that is typically used in stocks and soups and is traditionally wrapped in a leek (use a leaf from the discarded dark green outer leaves).

Because of its thick, creamy broth this is a hearty soup to have as a meal. I recommend serving it with some toast brushed with a crushed garlic clove and a salad with your favorite dressing.

Andouille Sausage and White Bean Soup

Makes 6 - 8 servings

2 - 4 Andouille sausages, roughly diced (the more sausage you use, the spicier the soup will be)
1 Leek, cleaned and all but one dark green leaf discarded (the leaf is saved for your bouquet garni) and sliced into 1/2" pieces
3 Medium carrots, cut lengthwise and sliced into 1/2" pieces
2 Cans white northern or navy beans (15 oz cans)
1 bunch of kale, chopped small
3 sprigs of thyme
1 bayleaf
1 clove of garlic, gently crushed
6 Peppercorns
6 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons cooking sherry
4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
(Optional) salt, to taste
(Optional) 1/2 lb. orzo or a small tubular pasta such as canneroni or mezzi rigatoni (or you can even go for something as fun as stars or alphabet noodles), cooked according to the package directions with 1/2 cup of the cooking water reserved

1. Place thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and garlic inside outer leek leaf and fold edges over both vertically and horizontally. Secure bouquet garni with kitchen twine as if you are putting ribbon on a wrapped gift. Set aside and, in a soup pot warmed to medium heat, add olive oil. Add sausage to pot and cook until just browned, about 10 - 15 minutes.
2. Toss in sherry and vinegar, and cook 3 - 5 minutes to pick up the fat from the bottom of the pot.
3. Add leeks, carrots and kale and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
4. Add beans, bouquet garni, stock, water and bring to a boil briefly, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, until broth starts to get creamy with bean broth.
5. Stir in the cooking water from your optional pasta, if you've made it--it will give the soup a sweet, starchy boost, and cook for an additional 5 minutes to incorporate.
6. Serve each bowl with roughly 3 heaping tablespoons full of cooked pasta (optional).

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I welcome your feedback!

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