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Saturday, November 16, 2013

White Bean Soup with Sausage and Greens

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE


This soup is a simple but satisfying one pot meal. Because it's full of leafy greens, the salad is already included. And it's an easy way to incorporate inexpensive cuts of pasture-raised meats into a healthy diet.

I used a bunch of golden beets to make this soup. If you can, always buy your beets with the leafy greens attached. Beets are one of the best buys when it comes to healthy foods. They're full of compounds that reduce inflammation, support detoxification pathways, and promote healthy liver function. At my farmer's market, a bunch of beets is the same price as a bunch of kale or chard or collards, so it's like getting the beets for free. If your beets don't come with the tops attached, you can substitute any other leafy green vegetable.

Instead of celery, which is a traditional ingredient in most soup bases, I chop up the stems of the beet greens, making use of the whole plant. If you can't find golden beets, you can substitute carrots.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dry white beans, soaked 12 to 24 hours
  • 5 cups bone broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Ground peppercorn
  • Pinch cayenne or aleppo pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp rendered duck fat or ghee
  • 1 pound home-made sausage
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 organic lemon

Directions:
  1. Add the bone broth to a soup pot along with the pre-soaked beans and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beans are tender, about an hour. (Cooking time will depend on soaking time.) Turn off the heat and add a generous pinch of salt and ground peppercorn and cayenne to taste.
  2. Prepare the beets by separating the root from the stems. Cut 1 large or 2 medium beet roots into a small dice, enough to make 2 cups. Remove the stems from the greens. Cut the stems into small dice and set them aside. Roughly chop the leaves and set them aside too.
  3. Warm the fat in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium heat. If you're using sausage links, remove the meat from the casings. Add the sausage to the hot pan and break it up into small pieces. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until it develops a brown color. Transfer the meat to the soup pot with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the diced onion, beet root, and beet stems to the fat in the pan and sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer them to the soup pot, then add 2 cups of water to the pan. Continue heating the water over medium heat and stir until any brown bits on the bottom of the pan have been dissolved. Add the water to the soup pot and stir everything together.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, the reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beets are tender, about 1 hour.
  6. Zest the lemon into the soup and stir in the chopped beet leaves, in batches if necessary. Cook until the greens are just tender.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and taste the soup for seasoning. Make any necessary adjustments, adding more salt or more lemon juice if you like. Once you're happy with it, serve it immediately. If you're making the soup ahead, wait to add the leafy greens until just before you serve it so they retain some texture and their bright green color.


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