Slow Cooker White Bean, Andouille + Collard Greens Soup

I'm only minimally sorry for bombarding you all with all these slow cooker recipes this month but I've been using this little machine weekly.  I have the 4 quart crockpot which is great size for Cam and me.  I promise I'll start mixing it up after the slow cooked pork recipe I'm sharing next week.  

This is almost a stew, slightly thickened by the starchiness of the beans.  Make sure not to let it cook too far, otherwise the beans will breakdown entirely and you'll have a weird, delicious blended bean soup situation. Cook until the beans are tender but don't let them fall apart.  

Slow Cooker White Ben, Sausage + Collard Greens Soup

12 oz white beans, soaked overnight and drained

12 oz andouille sausage, sliced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

1 bay leaf

about 3" piece of parmesan cheese rind wrapped in cheese cloth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cups chicken stock

3 cups water

1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded, leaves chopped

splash red wine vinegar

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Add beans, sausage, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf, cheese rind, thyme, basil, oregano, stock and water to the slow cooker pot.  Stir, cover and let cook on High about 4 hours or 7 hours on Low, until beans are tender.  Stir in collard greens.  Season with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.  Serve hot. 

Roasted Pepper + Sausage Pasta

A nice alternative to a tomato sauce pasta night.  Roasted bell peppers, red onion and pork sausage make this perfect on a chillier night.  And isn't roasting peppers fun?  I love rubbing off the charred skin and seeing how their texture has totally changed.  Here's a tip:  yellow and orange peppers are almost impossible to tell the difference between once they have been roasted.  

Use any type of sausage that sounds good to you.  I recommend italian or herbed styles.

Serves 6.

Roasted Pepper + Sausage Pasta

8 oz pasta (your choice, I like spaghetti)

3 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced

10 oz pork sausage, casing discarded

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

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grated parmesan cheese

Boil pasta until al dente.  Drain, set aside.  Turn gas range onto high.  Place whole bell peppers directly onto range. Blacken completely on all sides.  Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.  Rub off skins, discard stem and seeds.  Slice into strips.  Set aside. 

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add onions, cook until soft.  Add sausage, cook completely.  Add garlic, oregano and chile flakes, cook, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add cooked pasta and roasted pepper slices.  Cook until all is hot. Transfer to bowl and toss with cheese.  Season with salt and pepper. 

 

Kale, Bean + Sausage Stew

 

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Super chilly weather we're having.  Cameron made this soup which was so good every time I walked by it simmering I would have to stop and put my face over it to smell it.  The kitchen smelled of vegetables and herbs.  It was the perfect cozy, healthy dish to eat on an overcast day.  Just perfect.  We ate it with crackers but I think a big piece of crusty rye or whole wheat bread would be best.  (We were out of bread.)

Serves 8. 

Kale, Bean and Sausage Stew 

olive oil

2 links hot turkey sausage, casings removed

1 red onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

5 cloves garlic, diced

2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable)

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh savory

2 lbs fresh cranberry beans, shelled

1 lb red or yellow potatoes, diced

1 bunch tuscan kale, finely chopped

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splash white wine vinegar (optional) 

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil.  Add sausage, chop up with spoon and brown, about 4 minutes.  Remove from pot and set aside.   Add more oil to pot if necessary and add onion, carrot and celery.  Sauté while stirring frequently until onions are soft and clear, about 10 minutes.   Add garlic, stock, bay leaves, thyme and savory. Bring to a boil, simmer and add cranberry beans and potatoes.  Simmer, partially covered, 25 minutes or until cranberry beans are done.  Remove cover, add kale.  Season with salt, pepper and white wine vinegar as desired.