Soup is my favorite thing to cook. There are so many variations and possibilities! I love to experiment with new ingredients and making soup is a great way to do that. Recently I have fallen in love with dried beans. In the past I pretty much always went for canned beans since they are so convenient and quick cooking. After trying a few experiments I have come to the conclusion that dried beans really are worth the extra time. There is something about the flavor and texture that is present when cooking dried beans that is lacking in the canned variety. Most of the time allowing dried beans to soak in water all day while you’re at work is all the advance prep required.
- 3 C. dried white beans
- 1 T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 4-5 chicken Italian sausages
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 C. chicken broth
Rinse the beans in cold water and place them in a pot. Cover with cold water and soak for about 8 hours. If you are in a rush you can bring the beans to a boil, then turn the heat off. This cuts the soaking time down to about two hours. In a Dutch oven on medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the rosemary and the sausages. If they are in casings, remove the casing and break up the sausage into bite sized chunks. Cook until the sausage is browned. Season with salt and pepper and add the soaked, drained beans to the pot. Cover the beans with chicken broth. This will require about 4-5 C. of broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are completely soft and have begun to break down and thicken the soup. If the beans soak up all the liquid, you can add more broth or thin it with a little water. For a creamier texture you can use an immersion blender for just a few seconds to blend some of the beans, or use a wooden spoon to mash some of them up. Taste for seasoning. When serving, drizzle a little olive oil over each bowl. This soup is perfect for doubling and freezing. Also, you could cook the soup in a slow cooker; just prepare the soup to the point of adding the broth. Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.