a few weeks ago i went on a southern cooking frenzy, and i made barbequed (how the heck do you spell that word?) boston butt in the crockpot and braised turnip and mustard greens with bacon. both of these things generated a bunch of broth-y liquid for which i had no immediate need, but which seemed too good to throw away. so, like a good thrifty housewife, i put it in the fridge overnight, skimmed off the fat, and then put it in the freezer. this broth became the base for some bean soup i made that turned out about 20x better than i thought it would. i think this soup will be ALMOST as good with just chicken broth or other stock, but the complex flavor of that pork roast and the greens definitely brought something to the table. one other note, everything in this recipe but the beans, broth, and tomato puree came from my local farmers market. yay for local!
it's fall--it's the right time for a simple hearty bean soup--get cooking!
1 lb dried white beans, soaked overnight
1 lb smoked polish sausage
~8 to 10 cups broth
1 can (14 oz.) tomato puree
1 medium onion
1 red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 - 1.5 lb red russian kale (or other variety of greens)
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
i made this in the crock pot, but i am sure you could do it in a dutch oven or large stock pot just as easily. slice the sausage in 1/4-inch slices and roughly chop the onion and red pepper. combine everything but the kale in your pot.
in the crock pot i cooked this on low for about 7 hours. then i added the kale and let it go for about one more hour before calling it good.
on the stove, i'd say bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for ~3 hours or so. if you do it this way, watch your liquid level and don't hesitate to add some broth or water if too much evaporates. when the beans are starting to get soft, but not mushy, add the kale and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.
add salt and pepper to taste, and hot sauce if you want a bit of a kick to it.
serve with some good crusty bread.