Winter has just begun and so far it has been mild. In less than two weeks I will be going away on holiday to an even colder destination. My fav!! It is all very hush-hush, so I will share with you all as soon as I can ;).
Everyone here at Casa Castro, loves soup. My husband especially loves super chunky ones. I prefer smooth soups with a few chunks, so he was super excited for this.
This soup has a little hint of crushed red chilli flakes, to counter balance the sweet cream. Use as little or as much as you wish.
I use Italian inspired pork sausages, available only at Marks and Spencer's, here in the U.K.. Seasoned with fennel, garlic and cayenne pepper, they are divine. I always double up on these spices for the soup anyway, so do not worry if you can't find Italian sausage. Use whatever sausage you like. I use Maris Piper variety potatoes here in the U.K. as they hold thier shape in the soup. Idaho and Russet potatoes work well too. Cube potatoes and carrots to roughly the same size to ensure even cooking. I use, Cavolo Nero kale, (a.k.a, Tuscan kale, black kale, Italian kale), but feel free to substitute for regular kale, cabbage or spinach. I use a mix of 3 bean varieties, Haricot Beans, Red Kidney Beans and Adzuki Beans. You obviously can use whatever beans you love. Make sure you have plenty of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve and crusty bread.
Rustic Tuscan Sausage Bean and Cabbage Soup
3-4 L. of Chicken, vegetable stock or water, enough to cover vegetables and meat
300 ml. Single cream, in U.S.A use Half & Half
60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
400 g. Italian inspired sausages, casings removed
400 g. Cavolo Nero kale, or substitute from above
400 g. Mixed beans, canned and drained
100 g. Italian smoked pancetta lardons
200 g. Sweet corn, canned and drained
6 Medium potatoes, diced into bite sized cubes, with or without skin, your choice
4 Large carrots, cubed into bite size chunks
1 Large onion, diced
4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Bay leaves
2 tbsp. Corn flour/corn starch, disolve with 2 tbsp. cold water and reserve to add later
1 tsp. Fennel seeds
1 tsp. Basil, dry
1 tsp. Oregano, dry
1 tsp. Thyme, dry
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle to taste
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil sausage meat and pancetta, fry until brown and crisp, but not burnt.
Next add onions, spices, bay leaves and garlic. Sauté stirring with a wooden spoon for a few minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients to pan except, kale, beans and corn flour/starch mix. Add stock to pan so that meat and vegetables are just covered.
Cook, on medium/low heat, until carrots and potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.
Discard bay leaves.
Add beans and kale, add a little more stock or water if it seems to have evaporated. You want the soup to be on the thicker side. Stir and cover. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, until kale has wilted and turned a bright green.
Reduce heat to low. Add cornstarch and cream. Stir through. Taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer on low, stirring for 2 minutes more.
Soup is ready to serve.
I drizzle a little extra virgin oilive oil into each bowl before serving with loads of cheese and crusty hot bread.