Wednesday, April 18, 2012

White Bean & Chorizo Soup with Greens

We've been getting a produce bin every other week for the last couple months and have had varying success getting through all the produce. We had leeks, carrots, celery, and a bunch of assorted greens sitting in the fridge, so I decided to make a big pot of soup earlier this week.

This recipe is easily adaptable, and would actually be really easy to make vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using vegetable broth. It's also super fast if you have a can of beans around as opposed to having to cook the beans yourself. I kind of borrowed from this recipe and this recipe, making adjustments for what we had in the house and for personal preference. Seeing as it was designed as a clean the fridge kind of meal, I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was, and now I've been eating it for lunch all week.

Recipe Notes: I stole the trick of adding your spices in with your onions/carrot/celery mix and letting them fry a little from Indian food, but I do it now in almost all my cooking because I think it really helps meld the flavors, even with a short cooking time. The general idea of this soup is to add the things that need some browning/the most cooking time first, then de-glaze your pot with the wine and/or diced tomatoes, before finally just wilting your greens and re-heating the precooked beans after adding your broth right at the end. Feel free to substitute up the wazoo on this recipe. I had leeks but no onions, but you could use either or shallots for that matter. I always have Basque chorizo in the house, but an italian sausage would be good too. The greens we had in the house were a bunch of collard greens, a bunch of broccoli rabe greens, and then I love the flavor of celery leaves in soups, so I threw those in with the greens at the end as well. If you're using collard greens, kale, or chard, make sure to de-rib the greens before chopping up the leaves, but you can dice up the chard stems and throw them in with the onion/carrot/celery mix at the beginning too.

White Bean & Chorizo Soup with Greens
Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed and cut into half-coins
2 carrots, rinsed and cut into half coins
4 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt & pepper
2 chorizo sausages, cut into coins (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
4-5 cups broth or water
3 cups chopped greens (i.e. collard greens, kale, chard, spinach, celery leaves, broccoli rabe, etc)
1 can (14 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed

In a large pot, add olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the chopped leeks, carrots, and celery stalks, as well as all your spices plus salt and pepper to your preference, and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring every so often. Add your sausage (if using), and cook for another 5 minutes or until your sausage is cooked through.

De-glaze the pan by adding the wine and tomatoes (with their juices) and giving the whole pot a good stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add your broth or water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for 5-10 minutes and then add your greens and beans. Simmer long enough to wilt the greens and re-heat the beans, about 3-5 minutes.

Taste for salt and pepper and acid. (A couple of tablespoons of vinegar added at the end can really zhush up a soup if you feel the flavor is lacking - I would have used red wine vinegar here, but forgot to.) The soup is done when all your vegetables are cooked through and the greens are wilted.

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