White beans are some of my favorite legumes to cook. They’re so versatile, whether making a dip or soup or salad with them. When I make soup I usually pair them with sausage or kale; they need that hearty savoryiness that those two ingredients bring.
This soup is similar to a stew that I make but with more broth. If you have a sage plant, make sure you pick the leaves when the plant is pretty dry; the oils in the leaves will be most pungent and make this soup extra delicious!
If you don’t have sausage you can substitute bacon or pancetta or leave it out all together. Italian sausage is one of my all time favorite flavoring ingredients, so I use it whenever possible. I buy links and freeze them so that I can pull one out whenever I need a fix. The sausage is easier to cut if it isn’t completely defrosted; I usually let it sit out for 15 minutes and then it slices easily.
While the garnish seems a bit fussy, it’s really worth it and the little leaves fry up in seconds. It’s fun to have the little crunchy bite as you spoon the warm beany goodness into your mouth!
White Bean Soup with Sage and Sausage
1 sweet Italian Sausage, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
2 cups white beans with their juice (homemade if possible)
2 cups vegetable stock (if you don’t have leftover cooking water from beans)
20 fresh sage leaves – mince 15 leaves and set aside 5 whole leaves for garnish
In large sauce pan cook sausage and olive oil over medium high heat until sausage begins to brown. Add onion and garlic and cook another 3 minutes until translucent. Add minced sage and cook another minute. Add carrot and fennel and cook another 2 minutes. Add beans and liquid (or stock) and bring to boil and cook on high heat for 15 minutes until soup begins to reduce. In separate saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on high heat for at least 1 minute. Fry sage leaves until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Season with salt and pepper (you’ll need at least 2 teaspoons of salt, beans soak it up). Crumble leaves over top of each soup bowl and serve.
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