Believe it or not, Florida does get cold. Just the other day it went down to the 50s! Okay, stop laughing my northern friends. Where ever you live, there's always a good reason to make a hearty soup. Today I made a savory Mediterranean White Bean and Kale soup. I made some changes to the original recipe however I think the modifications worked. It's delicious!
1 lb. Dried Cannellini Beans (soaked, cooked to al dente)* 3 T EVOO 1 lb. Your favorite sausage (Italian, Kielbasa, Linguica or the like) 2 C Chopped onion (remember, this is rustic soup) 1 C Chopped celery 1 C Chopped carrot 4 Garlic cloves, minced 1 14 oz. diced tomatoes (get them fire roasted) 1 14 oz. Chick peas, drained and rinsed 2 qt. Ham stock (or chicken stock) 1 t Fresh rosemary 1/2 t Fresh thyme 1 Bay leaf 1 t Red chili flakes 2 bu. Kale, rinsed and chopped into bite size pieces (you don't want large leafs hanging off your soup spoon!)
(*I cook my beans with smoked ham hocks, an onion and a bay leaf.)
Add EVOO to a large stockpot. Add the sausage and cook until heated through or no pink remains. Remove meat to a bowl. Keep about a tablespoon of grease. Add onions to sweat, then add celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cannellini beans and stock. I add the finely chopped herbs directly to the soup however you can make a bundle with cheesecloth and place in the soup. Add the red pepper flakes and taste for salt and pepper. Add each to your liking. Cook for 25 minutes before adding the chopped kale. Cook until beans are cooked but not mushy.