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soup, two ways

March 26 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Soup » 19 comments


Soup, I have come to realize, feeds two very different needs.  The first is the need to make soup—a craving that’s strongest for me in late fall, when the weather is sliding slowly into winter.  During this early winter onset, other symptoms of mine include proclivities for wool socks, turtleneck sweaters and mugs of steaming hot beverages.  In these times, the act of making soup—hearing the flame flick on below the soup pot, slowly coaxing flavor out of a humble mix of ingredients, the feel of the counter against my hip as I lean and stir, lean and stir—is just what the doctor ordered.


The second need that soup feeds is perhaps more obvious: the need to eat the soup.  For me, this urge is at its peak on the rainy days of spring, with their damp chill and gloomy horizons.  Summer, we know, is around the corner, but it’s not here yet.  We’re like a little kid at her birthday party, blowing out the candles, only to realize, with a sinking feeling, that the candles are trick candles: the candles, like winter, will disappear momentarily, only to flare back up before you know it.   In my grown-up mind, I want to scream, just give me the damn cake (the summer) already! To tide myself over until it’s really-truly-warm, I like to hunch over a bowl of soup, spooning up brothy bites, letting the steam warm my face.

So soup is two things: it’s a project and it’s a restorative.  But here’s the catch: my hunger for soup as a restorative arrives approximately six months after my hunger for soup as a project.  By the time late March rolls around, along with its corresponding need to ward off the gloomy weather with soup, I am so over making soup.  I’ve had it with slowly simmering pots of chicken stock.  I can’t bear the thought of soaking even one more dried legume.  I have lost all interest in my trusty ladle.  But, still, when the forecast demands umbrellas and wellies, my stomach grumbles for soup.  What, oh what, is a girl to do?


Perhaps the situation doesn’t qualify as a great tragedy, but it’s a conundrum nonetheless: I want the soup, but I don’t much want to make it.  At times like this, recipes like today’s are my saving grace.  This recipe will get you a pot of soup (thick enough to flirt with the category of “stew,” even) full of hearty ingredients (fennel-laced Italian sausage, bright green spinach, firm white beans) in less than fifteen minutes.  Yes, you read that right: I said less than 15 minutes.    You get soup as restorative without the bother of soup as a project.  You can thank me the next time the clouds roll in.


Sausage, White Bean & Spinach Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

Printable Recipe

2 links sweet or spicy turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
salt, to taste
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
freshly-grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Cook sausage in the oil until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick.   Taste for seasoning and add salt, to taste, if necessary.

Remove from heat, and stir in spinach and basil. Serve with cheese, if desired.

19 comments so far. »
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  1. ronnissweettooth says on March 26 2009 at 7:01 pm:

    This will be one of this weekend’s meals, for sure. I’ll use chickpeas, because I just made a big pot today. Everything else is on hand, including some spinach that is starting to wilt in the crisper. Thanks Kristen!

  2. Christina says on March 26 2009 at 7:18 pm:

    Yum this looks fantastic! The colors are so vibrant, and you really capture that with your excellent photographic skills. What I love about soups is their adaptability — you could substitute kale for the spinach, or even omit the tomatoes. Delicious!

  3. Amy says on March 26 2009 at 8:12 pm:

    Geez, I am *with* you on being so over soup as a project right now. I looked at the root vegetables still languishing in our crisper the other day and thought glumly “well….guess I’d better make more…sigh..soup.”

    Hee hee. But this soup looks like a perfect early spring project! Quick and so colorful! Can’t wait to try it, Kristin. :)

  4. MommyAmy says on March 26 2009 at 8:46 pm:

    Ok, seriously, you’re always posting the perfect recipes for me! This one looks awesome! I too have soup ingredients in my kitchen that I’ve been purposefully ignoring because I’m just sick of making soup. But this soup you’ve posted today looks perfect for our NW rainy forecast! Thank you!!!

  5. Anna says on March 27 2009 at 3:28 am:

    Freeze it! Soup freezes really well and take out containers are normally the perfect size for 1!! (provided you get the tuperwear style take out containers in the US) i never feel like i want soup at the same time as i wanna make it, so my freezer is full of the stuff!

  6. KT says on March 27 2009 at 4:53 am:

    Are you sure you’re a lawyer? Your writing is some of the most captivating out there! (This is not the first time I’ve said *out loud to my laptop screen* “yes, exactly!!” after reading a description of yours. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy.)

    And it’s raining again here in ATL today – thanks for the perfect soup recipe :)

  7. Robin at Caviar and Codfish says on March 27 2009 at 5:42 am:

    I have to agree, Kristin, that the urge to make soup for me is in the fall but to *eat* soup is in the spring.

    Though with such a vibrant and earthy soup as yours, the urge to eat would *always* be there!

  8. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on March 27 2009 at 7:24 am:

    This looks fantastic. Perfect as both a project and a restorative – can’t wait to try it!

  9. Phoo-D says on March 27 2009 at 10:44 am:

    You described my sentiments precisely! While I love soup all year round I’m hitting the blahs for soup that takes a long time and is “winter” in nature. This recipe looks like it would hit the spot perfectly.

  10. Christina says on March 27 2009 at 11:16 am:

    This looks great! I understand what you’re saying about soup–this year I went on a soup making spree like never before. And now I’m really hoping that spring kicks in soon, because I don’t think I can face making another pot!

  11. Tracy says on March 27 2009 at 1:06 pm:

    This sounds delicious! And you’re right on target with the soup needs- every September I’m like, come on get cold, I wanna make soup!

  12. Treehouse Chef says on March 27 2009 at 4:35 pm:

    This looks delicious! I love soup and know exactly what you mean when you say you have a need to make soup. There is something relaxing about it.

  13. Dawn in CA says on March 27 2009 at 5:00 pm:

    Any soup that has italian sausage as an ingredient is fine by me.

  14. Chocolate and Toast says on March 27 2009 at 5:15 pm:

    I know this is wrong, oh so wrong, but I am one of those who will not touch a broth based soup. Give me cream, give me puree, give me anything but broth. But wow! Your pictures and descriptions might make me a changed woman. How can I say no to deliciousness that can be mine in 15 minutes?!

  15. noble pig says on March 27 2009 at 8:20 pm:

    I love white beans in soup. They have this hardiness that satisfies.

  16. maris says on March 28 2009 at 8:44 am:

    I love white beans in soup, I love spinach in soup and I love sausage in soup.

    Great recipe!

  17. LilSis says on March 31 2009 at 12:05 pm:

    I printed this recipe as soon as I saw it. I LOVE making soup and I LOVE eating soup! Sometimes I’m in the mood to eat a great homemade soup but don’t have the time to make it. The fact that this is a fast one makes it even better. Thanks!

  18. lynnnj says on April 10 2009 at 7:25 pm:

    Read the recipe yesterday – and had all the ingredients but the spinach. Shopped today and bought escarole instead. Made it, otherwise, exactly as instructed. Delicious, hearty, perfect for a cool, wet spring night. And a couple of containers to hold on to (although I don’t know if the textures will hold up to freezing, the taste should be fine). And I’d always avoided white beans in soup.

  19. [...] night, I whipped up this sausage, spinach and white bean soup (except I skipped the sausage and it was still mighty delish) and this, which was not such a [...]

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