Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tuscan Bean Soup

I love hearty soups for lunch and dinner! I've seen variations of this Tuscan Bean Soup, so I decided to improvise and use many of the flavors that I had already in the kitchen.  Spicy, warm, and hearty, I serve this soup with some pasta.
When you use kale you normally don't include the stems, I chopped the stems up rather small and put them in the pot with the celery and onion to give it extra time to cook. I also didn't have enough kale so I added in some collard greens.

The soup gets most of its flavor from the sausage but I wanted to add a little more flavor with the oregano and red pepper flakes.Using chicken sausage is a leaner option and the soup doesn't get a greasy texture either but maintains all the flavor.

For extra protein I added the chicken breast in addition to the chicken sausage and the can of beans.


Tuscan Bean Soup
Approx 6 servings

Olive Oil
3 stalks of Celery (diced)
1/4 lg Sweet Onion (diced)
Kale stems (diced)
1 chicken breast (chopped small)
2 hot Italian chicken sausages (out of the casings)
1 tbs Tomato paste (optional)
to taste salt and pepper
6 cups Chicken stock
1 can Cannellini beans
1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tsp oregano (optional)
8-10 pieces Red Leaf Kale (chopped up)
4 pieces Collard Greens (chopped up)

Heat some olive oil in a large pot, saute the celery, onion, and stems until onion is translucent.
Add chicken breast and sausage. Break up sausage as it cooks.
Once meat is cooked add in tomato paste and enough broth to just cover the mix. Stir until paste dissolves.
Taste. Add a little salt (sausage has a lot of salt in it already), and fresh cracked pepper.
Add in rest of chicken stock and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Add in beans.
Taste. Add in red pepper flakes, oregano, more s & p as needed.
Wilt the greens into the soup, about 10 min.
Depending on the levels of broth at this point I added in an extra 2 cups of water.

Serve over pasta or rice (Optional).

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