white bean soup with kale and sausage

Friday, January 27, 2012

Is Mercury in retrograde or something? Weirdness surrounds me.

The other day (incidentally at our Runyon Canyon), an older, bespectacled man made a point to deliberately approach me as I was entering the park. He looked me square in the eye and said, "Down the road there's some fresh horse manure!" Funny thing though: it sounded less like 'watch out!' and more like 'get it while it's HOT!'

Then I stopped at the drug store to pick up something and when I asked a question of the white-coated lady behind the pharmacy's register she answered me back in a pinched whisper. She had horrible laryngitis yet her lab coat was embroidered with the label WELLNESS AMBASSADOR.

The next stop was the dermatologist's, where a nurse led me into a room to wait for the doctor while saying, "Thank you for coming." Like it was a party and I was doing her a favor by attending.

I suppose you could say I'm the common denominator. There is that.

I'm sure I contribute to The Weird in the World (or at least Los Angeles). And I'll bet right now in some parallel universe I'm being cited by a blogger for some of it.

Like maybe wearing (unused!) poop bags as makeshift mittens on mornings when it's in the lower 40s. (Don't knock it. They are surprisingly toasty.)

Or scaring my neighbors with the same threadbare pair of saggy Juicy sweatpants every single day while wearing said makeshift mittens. (One of these days they are gonna turn to velour dust. David will cheer.)

Guess what? This soup is decidedly not weird. It's delicious. What you see is what you get. It's not gonna make you feel uncomfortable. Or have to stifle laughter. It's just some soup.

White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale
(adapted from Epicurious)
yields 6 large servings

This soup takes a bit of time but if you have the foresight, it'll be worth it. What's awesome about it, too, is that it's super hearty. Don't you love soup that is an entire meal in a bowl? Plus there's kale (kale=the new black)

1lb. dried cannellini beans
2 onions, chopped
2 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 quarts water
1 (3"x 2") Parmesan rind
2 t salt (and then more to taste)
1/2 t black pepper (more to taste)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to your liking)
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 lb. kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick pieces (optional)
8 carrots, chopped
1 lb. lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves chopped (this is about 2-3 bunches)

Rinse beans, then cover with water by 2 inches in a pot. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then turn the heat off, cover and let sit/soak for one hour. Drain in a colander and rinse.

Sauté onions in olive oil in a large soup pot over med-low heat until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic for another minute or two. Add beans, broth, water, bay, cheese rind, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and rosemary. Simmer, half-covered, for 50 minutes or until beans are tender.

While soup is cooking, brown sausage (if using) in batches over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside.

When beans are tender, add carrots, kale and sausage and simmer another 12-ish minutes or until kale is done to your liking. Taste for salt.

FYI, you'll be glad this recipe yields a boatload. This soup is definitely better the next day. It will thicken slightly so add a bit of water if you need to.

*Note--this soup is very bean heavy. Beans are definitely the main event here. If you'd rather it be less bean-y, try starting with 3/4 lb. dry instead of a full 1 lb.

Hope your day is just weird enough to be entertaining.

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