Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion cut into small dice (about ⅔-¾ cup)
  • 1 medium baby carrots cut into small dice
  • 1 celery rib cut into small dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves minced, about 2 tablespoons
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 48 ounces (6 cups) organic low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cannellini beans (takes 1½ of the standard size cans)
  • 1 pound kale rinsed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest finely grated

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4 or 5-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, working to break into bite-size pieces, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes more. Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, salt & black pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage along with any collected juices, and half of the beans.
  6. Mash the remaining cup of beans with a fork or wooden spoon and add them to the pot, stirring to distribute.
  7. Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (Cover the pot loosely during this step to prevent too much reduction in the broth.).
  8. Stir in the lemon juice and zest before serving. (Sue used grated Parmesan cheese instead.) It’s even better the next day!