Chard and White Bean Italian Soup with Crispy Sausage
A few pounds of dried white beans is a pantry staple must in my home. If I am out of protein options, running low on meal ideas, or just looking for some simple ((healthy)) comfort food, beans take care of business every single time. AND — hello! They are super budget friendly too. A perfect food for my family of 6.
Over the last 6 months, I have developed and perfected my preferred bean cooking method: “No Peek” beans. It is a super easy method which requires nothing beyond a dutch oven ((a kitchen must have for any family)) & an oven. If you have these 2 things you will soar at making this ((and every other No Peek)) meal.
Chard is a wonderfully beautiful plant that is super easy to grow and makes a stunning addition to any flower bed or garden. I HIGHLY recommend adding this to your landscape.
For the base, flavors come from a few staple items I always try to keep on hand
- sundried tomatoes packed in herbs and olive oil ((these have an Italian flair))
- sweet pickled garlic packed in oil and herbs ((these also have an Italian flair))
- chicken broth base
- “Mild and Creamy” Dijon mustard
- a pat of butter ((because it makes everything better))
I have some beautiful Crimini mushrooms — so I sliced 4 or 5 and added them to the pot.
Three garden-fresh leaves of rainbow chard add that “spinach-like” quality to this Italian soup, but really hold up to the lengthy cooking.
I like to chop the chard perpendicular to the rib, forming ribbons ((kind of like noodles)). The rib is edible and perfect for this hearty soup, so don’t toss the ribs, chop them up and throw them in the pot too.
The last additions are thyme and chives. Several varieties of these two herbs are hearty in my region ((7b)) and I have just loved having them decorate my ornamental flower beds. They are not only beautiful, they are so handy and talk about money saving ((store bought herbs are so pricey!)).
Chop the chives and simply tie the thyme into a cute & fancy looking bundle and add them to the pot.
Add water, cover and bake.
While the soup is doing it’s business in the oven, I thawed my Italian sausage so it would be ready to cook and serve over my soup.
Four hours later, the soup was done! Isn’t it gorgeous already?? The chard, mushrooms & sundried tomatoes are already sending messages to my taste buds!! I added ½ cup of cream & stirred.
I browned my Italian sausage until is was medium brown and crispy ((and removed the thyme bundle from the soup)).
I topped each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of crispy sausage and a few shaves of parmesan cheese ((oh and some more chopped fresh chives)).
It was amazing. SO yummy and hearty – but strangely light. The broth has a wonderful depth of flavor, the creaminess of the beans and that crisp crunch of the spicy Italian sausage — I think it is perfect!! David begged me to make it again next week!
Although I threw this recipe together in a few minutes, it tastes like an old family recipe that was created decades ago. I must give credit to those few humble pantry staples & a few homegrown garden-fresh ingredients for helping me create this deliciousness. When in a rush, struggling for a homemade dinner solution, a stocked pantry & garden will take care of all your kitchen problems.
- 1 lb bag of dried navy beans (rinsed)
- 5 to 6 cloves of sweet pickled garlic, packed in herbed olive oil
- 3 to 4 T sundried tomatoes, packed in herbed olive oil
- 2 T mild & creamy Dijon mustard
- 2 T chicken stock base
- 1 T salted butter
- 3 chard leaves, rinsed, dried and chopped ((including ribs))
- 20 sprigs of fresh thyme, rinsed, dried and tied in a bundle using baker's twine
- 20 sprigs of chives chopped
- 5 medium crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1/2 c whipping cream
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 lb Italian sausage, browned until crispy and drained
- Parmesan cheese, shaved
- chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 300°*. Add all ingredients ((except the cream & garnishes)) to a large dutch oven. Fill pot with water to about 3" below the top ((depending on the size of your pot)). Add a few dashes of salt and pepper, but not too much ((final seasoning will happen after the soup has cooked)). Place in the oven and allow to cook for 4 to 5 hours.
- 20 minutes before dinner, brown the sausage until crispy & drain.
- Remove soup from the oven, discard the thyme bundle, add cream. Stir to incorporate cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup and garnish with crispy sausage, shaved parmesan & chopped chives.
- *If in a time crunch, heat the oven to 400° and cook the soup for 1 hour at 400°, then reduce the temperature to 300° for the remainder of the cooking time ((about 2.5 hours)).