Monday, February 17, 2014

Mixed Bean and Sausage Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian Sausage sliced into 1-inch pieces. I removed the casing first.
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb Gourmet Bean Blend
12 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot set over high heat. Add the onion and sausage and until the sausage is browned. Add the garlic and peppers for 2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red chili flakes, bay leaves, pepper, Gourmet Bean Blend and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours until beans are tender and soup has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Makes about 4 quarts. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

To shorten cooking time, pre-soak the beans: place beans in a pot and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain beans and proceed with recipe.

Recipe from Epicurean Specialty Gourmet Bean site

Notes: This recipe was taken directly from the website of the company that makes these beans.  I got the bean mix at Costco, but any bean mix would work.  This particular mix had beans, peas and lentils in it.

I did not add the green peppers because the husband doesn't like them, but I think they would be delicious in this soup. I also think it would be tasty without the meat, but you will need to kick up the flavor with some other spicy addition.  I used hot Italian sausage, which added tons of flavor. As for measuring one pound of beans, I used 3 cups uncooked and this worked out. I adjusted the liquid to my preference.  This is an easy, one-pot meal with lots of flavor.  My favorite kind of recipe! 

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