Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sausage and Black Bean Soup

       I try to make soup at least once a week for days when we are busy and do not have time to think about cooking. The previous soup did not turn out very well so I knew I had to make a better one this time. I believe I succeeded in my endeavor. I made Sausage and Black Bean Soup this week and it was scrumptious. The beans I used came from my CSA basket the previous week and boy can you tell they were fresh. I have made this soup before and I used beans I bought from the grocery store and they never softened like they were supposed to even after hours of soaking and cooking. This made the soup have an almost gritty texture. It made me wonder how old those beans were and how long they had been sitting on the shelf. These beans softened during the soaking process and when I cooked them they were perfect. I always thought beans were beans but these proved me wrong.
     If you do not know what a CSA is it is Community Supported Agriculture. You basically pay a fee and buy "shares" into the farm in exchange you receive fresh vegetables from them weekly. It is a good way to try new vegetables while supporting local farming. I love it but there is one thing I am not loving about it right now and it's the turnips. I guess I am not a turnip fan and they keep coming. I wish I could tell them not to bring me any more but it does not work that way. Oh, well I will have to try and find ways to make them more palatable. Anyway, back to the soup.
      It was velvety and rich and very filling. The sausage added a little bit of spiciness and made it into really hearty meal. I was really happy with how it turned out and will be making it again and again especially in the winter months when it is cold outside. Any leftover soup I freeze for days when I do not have time to make a meal. I used a recipe from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook and tweaked it a little to make it my own. It tasted better the next day when the seasonings had a chance to meld together.
Sausage and Black Bean Soup
adapted from New England Soup Factory Cookbook
Marjorie Druker & Clara Silverstein
  1.  1 lb. of black beans dried
  2. 1 lb. of hot Italian sausage
  3. 3 T olive oil
  4. 4 cloves of minced garlic
  5. 1 large onion diced
  6. 4 carrots sliced
  7. 3 celery stalks sliced
  8. 9 c chicken broth
  9. 1 c red wine
  10. 1 can tomato paste
  11. 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  12. 1/4 tsp. crushed red peppers
  13. 1 T balsamic vinegar
  14. salt and pepper to taste
  • Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water and soak overnight in the fridge.
  • Drain beans before using.
  • Preheat oven to 350F and bake sausage for 25 minutes. Slice them when done and then set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in pot over medium high heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper sauté until soften.
  • Add black beans and sauté in vegetable mixture for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook until reduced by half.
  • Add the tomato paste and fennel seeds and another pinch of salt and pepper and broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer about an hour and half or until beans are very tender.
  • Remove from heat and puree soup, working in batches carefully if you do not have an immersion blender.
  • Return pot to heat and add the sausage, balsamic, red pepper flakes  and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings such as cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and diced onions if desired.

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