This white bean sausage soup with orzo is served with crispy Parmesan kale chips and makes a hearty but healthy winter lunch.
My first post of 2015, and I feel like I should make some resolutions. I’m not very good at sticking to actual New Year’s resolutions, so I thought maybe I’d share some of my ‘kitchen resolutions’, aka the kinds of things you’ll be seeing around this blog in 2015:
- Healthy food! I am still trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and oh my gosh all those holiday treats did not help that one bit! I want to make more healthified desserts and snacks, more soups and salads, and lightened up mains. I hope you guys are on board with this one! (Fear not, there will still be decadent desserts and comfort food lurking around here, too!)
- Slow cooker recipes! I am still figuring out my slow cooker, but I just love the convenience it offers. I hope to make more week-night slow cooker recipes (ie: 8 hr + recipes).
- Fast and easy week-night meals! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired when I get home from work, and need something fast, easy and convenient. And delicious.
- I want to keep pushing myself in the kitchen, in my recipe development and photography, and in my writing.
- Last but not least, this isn’t so much a resolution, but I want to keep having fun in the kitchen! 2014 was a blast, and 2015 is going to be even better!
This white bean sausage soup is my first recipe of 2015, and the blue pot is back to work. I call him my ‘model pot’ because he is in every soup and stew recipe I’ve ever posted…and there are a few of them!
So. This white bean sausage soup was inspired by a white bean Tuscan soup, the kind that always has kale floating around in it and is loaded with Parmesan cheese.
My problem with this kind of soup is the kale. I love kale. I love it in my salad, when it is fresh and vibrant…and has texture. Limp kale floating in a soup just isn’t my jam.
So I decided to ‘deconstruct’ this soup a tiny bit, by making Parmesan kale chips, and using them as a sort of ‘cracker’ for dipping in the soup.
To my complete an utter surprise, the parmesan kale chips actually maintained their crispiness when dunked in the soup, up to a minute or so! And you still get that delicious kale flavor that pairs so well with the white beans and sausage.
I recommend putting a couple of parmesan kale chips into your white bean sausage soup at a time, to be scooped up with your spoon. Or you can just dunk ’em. Or eat ’em as is. However you eat them, you will be getting some crispy and delicious Parmesan kale chips and a hearty and delicious soup.
2015, I think we’re off to a great start 😉
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- 300 g spicy Italian sausage roughly 3 large sausages, casings removed and cut into 1-inch peices
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into small pieces
- 2 stalks celery cut into small peices
- 5-6 cups chicken stock depending on how thick you want the soup to be
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 can white beans cannellini or white kidney
- salt to taste
- 1 small bunch of kale mine was 175g, stem removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- spray oil to thinly coat Kale
- 1-2 tbsp freshly ground Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Additional Parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley to garnish
SoupHeat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until browned and cooked through. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate while other ingredients cook.
Remove all but 1 tbsp of grease from the pot. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until translucent and cooked through (you may need to add a splash of olive oil if pot gets too dry). Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.
Add the wine, cook for one minute, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the sausage, carrots, celery, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots and celery are soft, around 15 minutes.
Add the white beans and orzo. Cook for another 15 or so minutes, until orzo is cooked through.
Taste and add salt if necessary (this may depend on your sausage, I didn't need to add any salt to mine).
Remove the bay leaf prior to serving.
Parmesan Kale Chip 'Dippers'While soup is cooking, pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Wash the kale, and dry it in a salad spinner. It is important to remove as much moisture as possible.
Arrange kale on baking sheet, 'top' side of kale down. Spray with oil to very gently coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pans 180°, then bake for another 5 minutes. Start checking your kale chips after about 7 minutes total of baking, by gently pressing down on centers, they will become crispy. Make sure to keep an eye on them, and don't let them burn!
Remove from oven when crispy, and serve with the soup.