By Sylvie Rowand / Photography by Molly McDonald Peterson
This is another classic hearty country soup: every European country probably has a version of it. The Tuscan one may be the most well known. Although the recipe calls for pork sausage, I also make it with lamb sausage. Either is readily available from local farms. Experiment with other sausage types and feel free to change the proportions to yield a more meaty, bean-y or green-y dish.
SERVES 4 AS A MAIN DISH
1 cup dry white beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 very large bunch of kale (curly and Tuscan are my favorites)
4 sausages (hot or mild Italian, as you prefer), sliced in ¼” slices
4 cups high-quality chicken or vegetable broth (preferably home-made) and water as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, degermed and minced
Skip this step if you are using canned beans. Otherwise, up to 3 days before: soak the beans in a large amount of water overnight. Drain, put beans in heavy bottom pan, add fresh water to cover the beans by 1 inch, bring to boil, then
simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain. Proceed with the recipe, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Wash kale. Remove stems if they are stringy. Bunch leaves together and shred coarsely using a large knife.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add and sauté onions and sausage slices until they brown on both sides—about 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.
Add the beans and broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any sausage bits. Bring to boil. Add the kale, stir, and bring to boil again. Lower heat and simmer covered, 20 to 30 minutes or until kale is tender. Add water or additional broth as necessary depending how thick/thin you like your soup. Salt and pepper to taste.
Sylvie Rowand of Washington, Va., grows, forages, and preserves food; cooks for others and teaches the pleasures of growing your own food and eating seasonally through workshops and her blog, www.laughingduckgardens.com.