Last week, I picked up a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard at our Red Stick Farmer’s Market and immediately thought about how great it would taste in a batch of white bean, greens and sausage soup. The combination of beans, greens and sausage, along with aromatic veggies and fresh rosemary, is just delicious in soup. I especially love this in the springtime, but it’s fun to make it year-round with whatever seasonal greens are emerging from local farms.
There’s something else that made me want to use those greens this week: St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Baton Rouge, we make a big deal about the holiday, even though we’re better known for Mardi Gras. We get sad and twitchy when Carnival season is over, so we have to have one last blast with St. Patty’s Day. The annual wild and rowdy Wearin’ of the Green parade rolls right through my neighborhood, and everyone on the block whips up all manner of green foods and drinks.
This soup is really easy to prepare, and it’s versatile enough to ease a post-parade hangover or get you through the work week. While hearty, it’s clean and healthy thanks to all those veggies and a lighter smoked sausage that’s full of flavor. I used south Louisiana producer Richard’s Cajun Smoked Sausage with Turkey. Round this soup out with a baguette or some whole grain bread and green salad for a quick lunch or delicious dinner.
White bean, greens and smoked sausage soup
Serves 6 to 8
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 16 oz. package Richard’s Cajun Smoked Sausage with Turkey, cut into thin discs, then sliced in half
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
2 15 oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
8 cups chopped fresh greens, such as Swiss chard or kale
2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
Several turns fresh cracked black pepper
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil to medium high and add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure garlic does not burn. Add sausage, bay leaves and rosemary, sautéing for another 5 minutes. Stir in next six ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.