Sausage, White Bean, & Winter Vegetable Soup
How are we feeling about the holidays friends? Thanksgiving is over and it is full steam ahead towards Christmas. Like it or not, that train is moving and it’s moving fast, so I guess it’s time for us all to jump on!
I’ve talked to people that have all of their shopping done already. Some of them even have their gifts wrapped!
I am not one of those people.
We got our first holiday card in the mail yesterday.
I was tickled that I even got my cards ordered. Getting them addressed and in the mail is a whole other story. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait by your mailbox in anticipation of receiving it.
I’m seeing pictures on Facebook of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, holiday mantles, and outdoor lights.
We are getting ready to replace the flooring in most of our first floor, so I am using the anticipated dirt and dust as an excuse to keep all of our decorations in the crawl space.
Elves on the Shelf have already made appearances in many homes and are getting up to their usual holiday hijinx.
Our elf, Rosie, has shown up after the incessant questioning by my kids of when she would come and has unceremoniously plopped herself in the usual boring and uncreative spots.
Holiday train? You could say I’m on it, but just barely. Over the next few weeks, the train will only begin moving faster and faster, so you know what we need?
More hours in the day?
If you figure that out, let me know. Until then, I’m telling you that what we need is soup. Yes, you read that right – soup. Warm, comforting, nourishing. Easily made ahead and frozen. Loaded with vegetables because you may not have baked any cookies either, but you know that they’re going to show up everywhere else you go. Soup is the answer. Make some soup, better yet, make a double batch so you can freeze the extra. Then, if you have the opportunity to go get a Christmas tree, or you could spend all of Saturday afternoon shopping or making those cookies or hanging up lights outside and you can be content knowing that dinner is already done.
Garlic, ground fennel, and italian seasoning are the primary herbs in this soup. I buy fennel seeds in bulk at a local store and then grind them in a coffee grinder that I seem to use more for grinding herbs and spices than I do for actual coffee. Once ground, the fennel will keep for a long time so go ahead and grind them all up. I also added some nutritional yeast, which gives the soup a parmesan flavor, while still keeping it diary free!
I used a mixture of kale and swiss chard when I photographed this soup, but you could use all chard, all kale, or even spinach. Any of them will work. Just put some greens in there! That way, if it happens that while decorating your tree or hanging lights you end up eating a few Christmas cookies, you can feel absolutely no guilt. Because we have kale in here folks! Kale! (Or chard, or spinach!) Surely that negates any Christmas cookie calories. Don’t question it. Just go with it. And make sure you make extra to freeze for later. Because that Christmas train will keep on rolling for the next three weeks and the cookies are going to keep on coming.
- 1 lb. ground pork or turkey
- 2 tsp. italian seasoning
- 2 tsp. ground fennel seeds*
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped - about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 Tbl. minced fresh garlic
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 14 oz. cans of navy beans
- 4 cups diced butternut squash**
- 3 Tbl. nutritional yeast***
- 12 cups chopped greens - kale, swiss chard, and/or spinach
- 1. Brown pork (or turkey) in a medium pot coated with cooking spray. Add ground fennel, italian seasoning, salt, & pepper. Drain any excess fat and set aside.
- 2. In the same pot, heat olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat, until translucent. Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, beans, squash, sausage, nutritional yeast, and broth.
- 3. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.
- 4. Remove from heat and add greens, a few handfuls at a time, stirring each batch into the soup. The residual heat of the soup will wilt the greens so they don't get too overcooked.
- *I buy fennel seeds and grind them in my coffee grinder!
- **If you're in a hurry, look for prechopped butternut squash in the produce aisle.
- ***I find nutritional yeast in the natural/organic food aisle at my local Giant. It gives a parmesan flavor to the soup, but if you can't find it, just omit it.
- Leftovers freeze well!