Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Food Porn: Sausage, Cannellini, & Kale Soup

My current winter favorite is Sausage, Cannellini, & Kale Soup. This recipe is just because at long last, I can get cannellini beans locally, the pig man sells loose Italian sausage, and kale is at its wintery finest. I feel pretty fancy when I eat it. It looks like I should be eating it in Tuscany or something. This is easy to make compared to my Country Loaf recipe. (-_^) Use canned beans if you must, but it takes only an extra thought to make them from scratch-- the night before soak a cup of beans in some water. In the morning, before coffee, turn the pot on a low simmer. They'll be ready before you.

Sausage, Cannellini, & Kale Soup
Followed closely behind is my new favorite bread, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, which I will be eating for breakfast. My husband has accused me of making food porn. He's is quite sure that the food police will come and confiscate my cookbooks if I continue to bake because of the current disgrace the grain based diet is in now that everyone else is going paleo or whatever the diet du jour is in these days. Hey, if it works for you and you feel great, awesome. I just happen to love soup and bread and soup and rice and soup and salad and sticky buns and dessert, and I feel great too.  The recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible which is on loan momentarily from the Public Library, that warehouse of evil temptations. Here's some food porn for you to enjoy.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Still warm when cut so it's oozing cinnamon sugar
Sausage, Cannellini & Kale Soup
Serves 4 to 6


I first made this with loose Italian sausage, but eventually switched to using ground pork so I could adjust the spices to my tastes. Omit or adjust the spices if using sausage. Soak the dried beans the night before, rinse them in the morning and simmer them in fresh water or quicker yet, pressure cook them, while making your morning cup. Leave them covered on the stove until dinner or cool and store in the fridge for the next day. Rinse before adding to the soup pot. Add the kale just before serving and it will glow summer green in the heart of winter. This is a lovely soup in fall and winter.

Ingredients
Cannellini beans, 1 1/2 cups dry, soaked overnight, rinsed, & cook until tender
Olive Oil, 1 to 2 Tbsp
Fennel Seeds, 1 tsp
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, ⅛ tsp or pinch (vary as you like heat)
Rosemary, ½ tsp dried or 1 sprig
Greek Oregano, ½ tsp (1 tsp dried)
Salt, ½ tsp
Pepper, 3 to 4 cranks
Onion, 1 medium, diced (sweet)
Carrot, 1, peeled & diced
Celery, 1 stalk, diced
Garlic, 2 cloves smashed
Ground Pork, 1lb (~450 gm)
White Wine, ¼ cup
Chicken Stock, 8 cups
Kale, 2 cups chopped (remove thick stems)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese, 2 Tbsp for garnish

What to do
Prepare dried beans or drain a can. Soak the beans overnight. Rinse and drain. Pressure cook soaked beans in fresh water for 6 minutes and allow to cool down with the lid on OR simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Set aside.

Dice onion, carrot, and celery. Smash the  garlic, ideally, in a mortar and pestle. Wash and chop kale. Grate the cheese.

In a pot over medium low heat, warm the olive oil. Add fennel, crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, Greek oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook until spices begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add diced onion and sauté until aromatic, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, & garlic and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add the pork and break into pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook until the pork is browned and cooked thoroughly, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, stirring to get the brown bits loose.

Add the chicken stock and drained beans. Bring to a boil over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Add the kale and simmer until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately and garnish with parmesan cheese.