Thursday, October 18, 2007

White Bean Soup with Roasted Turkey Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Basil

White Bean Soup with Roasted Turkey Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Basil

I got a new pan recently, and I'm infatuated with this pan. It's not Le Crueset (due to my school teacher's budget!) but it's a blue enamel covered cast-iron dutch oven by Chantal, which I got at TJ Maxx for $40. What a bargain! I love this pan, and that's the reason I got up Friday morning thinking of soup, and left two cups of dried white beans soaking in the pan while I was at work.

This was one of those absolute winging it recipes, and I can't say enough good things about how it turned out. I had a few zucchini left in the garden, so I put them in, but I think red bell peppers would also work well. I have all that wonderful frozen basil in my freezer so I used quite a lot, but you could get away with less. I used turkey Italian Sausage to keep the South Beach Diet police happy, but you could use any type of sausage. The only thing I'm going to insist on is that you must soak your beans. If you promise to do that, keep reading and I'll give you the recipe. But first, let me tell you that this is my submission for Weekend Herb Blogging #105, hosted by the lovely Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Basil is the king of herbs, as affirmed by the results of the voting for the favorite vegetable and favorite herb in connection with the two year anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging. Not only does basil taste wonderful, but it's easy to grow, and frozen basil will taste great in soup, stew, and pasta sauce all winter. No wonder basil is featured in cuisines around the world.

Here's why soaking makes dried beans so much better. On the left, beans without soaking. On the right, the same type of beans after being soaked all day. Soaked beans cook faster too.

I wanted the turkey sausage in this soup to be well-browned and to stay firm in the soup, so I roasted it in my stove-top oven while the soup cooked. I also deglazed the roasting pan and added it to the soup, which added a lot of flavor.

White Bean Soup with Roasted Turkey Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Basil
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from her new pan.)

2 cups dried white beans (soak 10-12 hours)
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup water, plus added water as needed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried marjoram (or use oregano if you don't have marjoram)
1 tsp. ground fennel
1 pkg. turkey Italian Sausage (5 links)
2 cups diced zucchini
1 tsp minced garlic
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes, or less (I used the Peperoncino I got from Ilva, but you could also use Aleppo pepper or a smaller amount of Cayenne)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or about 6 T frozen basil (could use less if you don't have a good supply of basil)

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 F. Soak dried beans overnight, or all day while you're at work. Drain soaked beans, rinse, and remove any loose skins or broken pieces. Place beans in soup pot with chicken stock, water, chopped onion, dried basil, dried marjoram or oregano, and ground fennel and cook at a low simmer about one hour, or until beans are starting to get tender. (The cooking time of dried beans depends greatly on how old they are, even when the beans have been soaked, so check by tasting.)

While beans cook, roast turkey sausage about 45 minutes, or until well browned and firm. Remove sausages from roasting pan, then deglaze pan with 1/2 cup water, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and add to soup. Cut sausage in half lengthwise, and then into slices. Wash zucchini and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

After beans seem like they are close to being done, add sliced roasted turkey Italian sausage, chopped zucchini, garlic, black pepper, and hot pepper flakes and simmer 30-45 minutes more. When beans are fully softened and cooked, add chopped fresh basil or frozen basil and cook 5 minutes more. Serve hot. This will keep for several days in the refrigerator. I also put some of my soup in the freezer, where I imagine it will freeze very well.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Soup like this with dried is actually approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but I would probably eat it for phase two or three. For my lunch at school I had a small bowl of this paired with Romaine Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Feta, which was a great lunch!

More Delicious Soups with White Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Turkey and White Bean Chili with Chocolate
White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary
Italian Sausage and Bean Soup with Chard
White Bean and Ham Soup with Chard
Rustic Red Kale and White Bean Soup from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
White Bean and Ham Soup from Simply Recipes
Dilled White Bean Soup from A Fridge Full of Food
White Bean Soup with Sausage from Cook and Eat
Spinach and White Bean Soup from Dani Spies
White Bean, Kale, and Sausage Soup from Chez Megane
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  1. Ooooooh! Another great reason to pull out some turkey sausage!

    I bet this recipe would be just as good with fresh basil and canned beans (I only stock dried pintos, everything else is in the pantry)

  2. Um . . . I have another strange urge to bake bread (can't imagine where that would come from) and I'm thinking lentil soup but your beans look very tempting.
    Cast iron is just the best. I haven't seen any Chantal cast iron but I'll be looking now! That's a sweet one.

  3. I don't know how many of your readers live near a TJ Maxx, but it is a wonderful discount (mostly clothing) store that always has great cookware in the back of the store. I often pick up pots like this, slightly hurt or seconds, but that are way below retail price. Chantal, Le Creuset, Mario Batali -- I've seen all of the brands there at one time or another. I always feel great when I manage to snag a new pot on sale!

  4. Kalyn, your dutch oven is a good investment even if it's not Le Crueset. Some of Le Crueset isn't even made in France anymore, so you're paying for the name over anything else. I have a few high-end pots & pans, but I still love my Farberware best.

    Thanks for the great on-the-fly recipe, as robust and homey as that beautiful cobalt pot you bubbled it up in.

  5. First off Kalyn, that's a lovely new enamel pot you have and secondly, bean & sausage soups are very comforting and a meal in itself.

  6. Congrats on your new pot! It's lovely, such a pretty shade of blue. I am making a soup similar to this next week, don't you love fall!

  7. Hi everyone,
    Thanks to Lydia for the reminder. I should have mentioned I got this pan at TJ Maxx for $40! What a deal. Will edit when I get home from school. If you live near a TJ Maxx, it's a great place to get pans and other cookware (like all those many dishes you *need* to shoot photos with!)

  8. Oooh, I am SO glad you posted this! I've been craving white beans and sausage the past couple of weeks. Thanks, too, for the heads up on Chantal enameled cast-iron cookware. I'm a HUGE fan of my Le Creuset, but it is super expensive. Lately, I've been trying to find alternatives and haven't had much luck (although I did find a Mario Batali enameled cast iron dutch oven for half the price of LC). So I'll check out Chantal (and it's such a nice name too :-)).

  9. absolutely love your blog and glad I found it.. it brings a smile to my face every time i discover something new to try...

  10. Looks good and I like your the color of your pot! It looks nice!

  11. What a beautiful new pot! (I have a blue, non-Crueset for the same reason) I love the design on the lid. Oh, and the soup looks good, too.. Time for soup!

  12. I have some blue Chantal cookware as well--I love it!

  13. I love the blue pot! I've been eyeing similar ones at TJ Maxx's and Marshall's but I haven't found one in a color or size that I like. Yours looks perfect.

    Thanks for the link to my white bean soup. I'm hoping that it will eventually be cool weather here in the deep south so that I can enjoy soups again.

  14. Your Chantal pot is perfect for your kitchen!! Eeee!!
    So cute.
    Wow, you're already into bean soups? I've been so absent from my kitchen.

  15. This sounds tasty. I really been enjoying Italian sausage lately. Using them in a soup with beans sounds good

  16. Yum--I'm so happy it's getting to be soup season. This looks so hearty and comforting. The pan is great, too!

  17. I found a similar pot at Marshall's for about the same price. What a deal. They are awesome pots. Enjoy!

  18. Been lurking for quite some time but this is my first time commenting. Thank you for all your fantastic recipes and links to others just as good.

    Question on this one...what if I used canned beans? Also, how about grilling the sausage instead of roasting? I'd be happy to be the guinea pig on these alterations but you have much more experience so I thought I'd ask first.

    I've been cooking a long time but just recently started to enjoy it enough to think about getting "good" pots and pans. I don't have a dutch oven yet. Would any type of larger pot work for this soup?

    Much thanks in advance for your answers.


  19. Ericha2, yes any type of large soup pot would work for this, and grilling the turkey sausage would also work (although turkey sausage is so low in fat, I prefer roasting. The other benefit to roasting is that you can deglaze the pan to get the sausage flavor and add it to the soup.)

    You could make it with canned beans of course, but a lot of the complex flavor here comes from the long cooking of the beans with the dried herbs and ground fennel. You couldn't cook canned beans that long or they would turn to mush. I would encourage you to try soaking and cooking your own beans to see what a difference it makes.

  20. For some reason I am loving the onset of fall this year. This looks like another great soup and I happen to have Italian sausage that a friend made in the freezer.

  21. This looks like a great fall dish! And I love your bright blue pot... it's adorable!

  22. I love that beautiful blue color of your dutch oven/pot! And your bean soup recipe sounds so good that I'm going to soak some beans now. :)

  23. This time of year especially, I love legume based soups...this one will definitely get added to the list. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Another thing to learn from your blog, Kalyn. It's just last night I was talking about cast iron pans I discovered used by one of cafes in Ubud, Bali (Indonesia). I'd love to buy one of those next time I go back to Bali. And you freeze the basil leaves? Are they not getting black being frozen? I haven't planted my basil yet, still getting rid of my sinusitis. I'm sorry I missed the Anniversary due to the loss of my father-in-law. The entries were all fantastic. There are so many to choose from. Lovely.

  25. I am loving it that people understand why I love this blue pot! Arfi, I chop the basil with olive oil which prevents it from going black.

  26. I made this last night and it was wonderful! I have had the hardest time finding basil so I had to do without, I might throw in a handful of spinach tonight but it was really tasty as is. I was worried I wouldn't like the sausage but it came out great.

    Thanks for sharing your yummy recipes!

  27. How I wish I could have you deliver a bowl of your soup to my table tonight! I have just seen my youngest daughter off to England for a year, my husband is away for three months and I'm home alone tonight with my cats...this wonderful bowl of soup is what I need!!
    May your new Chantal bring you years of delight!

  28. Kalyn, this is a lovely soup - I'm a sucker for white bean concoctions. Unsurprising that basil was voted as number one herb!

  29. That is one gorgeous pot, Kalyn! Love the color of the blue.

  30. OMG, that looks like just what I need to get me through winter... And isn't enamelled cast iron cookware the BEST? I have a (small) collection of Le Creuset, all purchased from... you guessed: TK Maxx here in London! It's my favourite store by a mile.

  31. I just bought the exact same blue pot at my TJ Maxx yesterday and it is the very reason I found your thread. I wanted to learn more about my new pot. Mostly I wanted to know if anyone had concerns about the fact that it is made in China and the possibility of lead paint. I didn't even think of that until I went looking into info about my pot. I love that you have a recipe for my pot and any other recipes or feedback is greatly appreciated. I love blue and the design on the lid won me over. I had another one picked out and even brought home that was rated to 650 degrees in the oven but I just had to have the blue one!!

  32. Has anyone found out anything about lead paint and China when it comes to the Chantal cast iron dutch ovens? I just bought one as well and need to know what it is made of and where it comes from. It's tough to find out anything about these pots on the internet.

  33. Missy and Anonymous, if you google "Chantal cookwear where made" it appears that most of their cookware is made in Germany. I didn't see anything about it being made in China.

  34. This soup is a lot like the Tuscan Soup I had in Pisa, when I went to Italy last year.

    I took out the turkey sausage and added canned tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. It was served with bread soaked inside the soup bowl, and it was very, very good!


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