I have recently realized that I have a minimum of two recipes for every dish I've ever made.
There is the Sunday night version of a recipe ( aka "Company-Worthy" version ). Herbs from my garden, homemade chicken broth, fresh beans from the farmers market, homemade sausage, and kale from the CSA. In my mind, this is how I always cook: each meal is a marriage of fresh ingredients, thoughtfully combined to create a delightfully gourmet experience. If only!
I have made the Sunday night version of this recipe, and it knocked my socks off. It also took nearly an entire day of active preparation. For soup. SOUP, people!
This brings me to the other version of every recipe I have. The Tuesday night I-Had-To-Work-Late-And-Traffic-Was-A-Mess version. Although significantly less glamorous, these are the meals that keep us going: a few fresh ingredients that always seem to be hanging around the house ( garlic, onions, kale or spinach ), combined with pantry staples ( chicken broth, beans, dried herbs ), and some odds and ends from the freezer, and you have a meal.
If you did the math, my odds and ends from the freezer are celery and smoked sausage. I'm not particularly proud of the fact that I can't keep celery fresh in my house. I would love to be one of those people who snacks on celery sticks and hummus or peanut butter, but the truth is that raw celery has always seemed like a punishment. Seriously, am I the only one who feels like celery stalks might really just be waterlogged coconut husks that have been dyed green? So whenever I need to cook with celery, I always dice up the whole thing and throw the leftovers in the freezer in little one cup baggies to use in other soups to come. The smoked sausage is essentially the same deal. We could never eat a whole package before it would go out of date, so I slice it all up, throw it in the freezer, and cook the slices as needed directly from frozen. These two little shortcuts make this soup in particular a breeze.
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups kale
- 1 can navy or cannellini beans
- 8 oz smoked sausage sliced
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- In a stock pot set over medium heat, sauté the sliced sausage until crispy brown on both sides.
- Remove the browned sausage slices and set them aside. Add the onion and celery to the pot and cook in the leftover sausage drippings until the onions are translucent. Feel free to add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pot if the sausage did not produce much fat, to make sure your onions and celery don't burn.
- Add the garlic, red pepper, rosemary, and thyme to the pot, and cook until the garlic softens.
- Return the sausage to the pan, and add the beans and chicken broth, too.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Add the kale, ribs removed if your husband is going to think they are "weird" in the soup. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I think they are weird, too. Kale can be a funny thing.
- Let the soup simmer uncovered and reduce for at least 30 minutes ( but cover it if you're going to simmer for more than an hour ).
- Serve with fresh rosemary sourdough bread.