Spicy Sausage Stew (with White Bean and Chard)

Italian soups are just a must in Fall, right?

When I think of hearty soups that I crave when the temps start to dwindle and the light wanes… Pasta e Fagioli, or Zuppa Toscana rank PRETTY HIGH for me. There are all sorts of Italian soups that I love – brothy, creamy, thick, thin… pasta based, potato based… bean based. With so many different protein options these days, there is a lot of ability to customize and personalize them as well.

This is one of our households new favorites. As we grow dried beans in our garden, soups with a hearty helping of the protein and fiber rich lil bubbas are growing higher and higher on the list. And even though this calls for canned beans, my favorite thing is rehydrating our dried bean stock. if you grow dried beans, or buy dried beans to rehydrate, I would suggest using a basic white bean like cannellini or navy, butter or great northern bean (as mashing up your gorgeous heirloom beans seems sacrilegious!)

Here a bean based soup that is one that we make frequently right now. It has a little heat to it (thanks spicy sausage), a nice thick and rich broth (leaning almost towards a stew consistency so titles stew not soup) and is filled with great veggie goodness (NO PASTA, y’all!)

(*NOTE: there are no reference photos for this soup, but the post is scheduled to be updated with photos soon!)

Spicy Sausage Stew (w/ white bean and chard) (makes 6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb of hot Italian sausage, crumbled (casing removed)
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 (14 fluid ounce) cans white beans (cannellini) drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 dash dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 small carrots peeled & chopped small
  • 2 cups chopped / one bunch of Swiss Chard (kale or spinach also work well)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a heavy bottom soup pot (or dutch oven) over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp Olive Oil and sausage. Cook sausage until cooked through and it begins to get brown and crispy. Break up into bite sized pieces as it cooks if chunks are still large from using shaped sausage (removed from casings). Set cooked sausage aside in a bowl to add back later.
  2. Add remaining tsp oil to pan with onion. Saute for 2-3 min until translucent. Add in garlic and saute for 1 min (until fragrant).
  3. Add broth, beans, oregano, rosemary and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer.
  4. After about 5 min of simmering, using a potato masher (or immersion blender), mash mixture so that half of your beans have been broken apart (if using an immersion blender, blend for about 1 minute… making sure to leave some beans in tact.) This will thicken the soup and create its creamy texture. (I prefer to mash minimally so there are a good amount of full beans left as it continues to cook. It is up to you, whatever your preferred texture, just understand that it will continue to thicken as it cooks and is reheated as leftovers!)
  5. Keeping pot at a simmer, add in bay leaf, cooked sausage and carrots. Simmer for 15 minutes until carrots are soft (al dente is preferred.)
  6. Once carrots are al dente, add in chard and stir to wilt. Simmer an additional 2-3 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve. (NOTE: you will not need much salt so don’t add it earlier in the recipe! By this point, it is salted very well… I generally do not add any additional salt to the soup… if any as a finisher on top when served.)

This soup is luscious, filling and a great thicker soup that required NO DAIRY to make creamy and delicious.

You can also use any sort of uncooked sausage you prefer, but as we like a bit of spice, we opt for hot Italian style pork sausage. This would also work well with a chicken sausage or other sausage, giving a lighter taste and a bit easier on the saturated fats. Many recipes similar to this also call for bacon or lardon or pancetta with the sausage, but I find that overkill. A quality sausage, bright greens and good, hearty beans are all this soup need to fulfill the role of complete comfort food.

We serve with crusty bread and cultured butter, paired with a hearty red (an old vine Zinfandel or Bourdeaux are wonderful with it.)

It makes 6 servings, so for a small family, you get a dinner and lunch leftovers out of this quick soup recipe.

What is YOUR favorite Italian soup? Drop it in the comments and let me know if you try this recipe!

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