Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cannellini Bean Soup Recipe with Roasted Italian Sausage and Escarole

Bean Soup with Italian Sausage and EscaroleWhy oh why did it take me so long to try escarole? Back in Feburary of 2007 I wrote about escarole for BlogHer and brought some home, with good intentions of using it in a soup like this. I'm not sure why, but I never managed to cook that escarole, and it's taken me all this while to buy it again. This is the soup I planned to make nearly a year ago, one of those classic soups of beans, sausage, and escarole, and what a great combination! It only took one spoonful for me to realize I absolutely adore escarole, with its unique flavor that's subtly different from any other green I've tried.

Surely I'm not the only escarole deprived cook out there? If you don't know about escarole, you may not realize that this least bitter member of the endive family can be eaten raw or cooked and the darker outer leaves are much stronger in taste than the inner, lighter colored leaves. Escarole is nutritious, and it's low in calories. In Italian cuisine, escarole is traditional with sausage, garlic, and white beans, but there are many other flavor combinations that work. I thought escarole would be a fun ingredient to feature for Weekend Herb Blogging, a weekly event for cooks who like to learn about new herbs, plants, veggies, or flowers. This week's host is Anna from Anna's Cool Finds, and she's trying to set a record for the most participants by offering a prize drawing to give you a little more incentive to post an entry this week, so don't miss out. Now on to my escarole soup recipe and a few very interesting escarole recipes from other bloggers.

Cannellini Bean Soup with Roasted Italian Sausage and Escarole
(Makes about 6 generous servings, I suggest doubling it if you want to use the whole head of escarole; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many similar recipes she's seen.)

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. hot or sweet Italian Sausage (2-3 links, use turkey Italian Sausage for South Beach diet)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T finely minced garlic (or use garlic puree from a jar)
1-2 tsp. olive oil, to saute onions and garlic
1 can cannellini beans (not rinsed)
6 cups + 1-2 cups more homemade chicken stock (or use 4 cans + 1 can more chicken broth)
pinch hot pepper flakes
1/2 large head escarole, thinly sliced and coarsely chopped (use outer leaves and save inner leaves for salad)
coarse ground black pepper to taste
fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions:
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425. Spray a roasting pan with olive oil, then roast sausage until well browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let sausage cool, then cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick. When roasting pan has cooled a few minutes, pour in 1/2 cup chicken stock and use a metal turner to scrape off browned bits from the pan. Add this to the soup when you add the chicken stock. (You can also cook the sausage in a frying pan, but in soup I like the way roasting intensifies the flavor of the turkey sausage.)

While sausage cooks, chop onions and garlic. Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot and saute onions 3-4 minutes, until softened but not brown. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more. Add chicken stock (including deglazing liquid from roasting pan), beans, sliced sausage, and hot pepper flakes to soup pot and simmer about 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, wash escarole, slice, and coarsely chop. Add escarole to soup pot, along with additional chicken stock if it seems too thick. Taste for seasoning and add black pepper to taste. (I didn't add any salt, but you might want some.) Let cook 20-30 minutes more, until escarole is starting to break apart slightly. (I used my immersion blender and barely blended the soup after the escarole had cooked about 15 minutes, which is completely optional.)

Serve hot, with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top if desired.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
With turkey Italian Sausage, this soup is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach diet.

More Delicious Ways to Cook Escarole:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients. If you have a good recipe using escarole, feel free to leave a link in the comments.)
What's the Role of Escarole from BlogHer
Lentil and Escarole Soup from Farmgirl Fare
Chickpeas and Escarole from Mele Cotte
Green Pea, Escarole, and White Bean Minestrone from Figs, Olives, Wine
Escarole and Chickpea Soup with Pesto from Champaign Taste
Chickpea and Escarole Soup from Vanesscipes
Turkey-Escarole Soup from The Perfect Pantry
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Gorgonzola and Escarole from Culinary in the Country
Escarole at Home from In Mol Araan
Grilled Escarole from Nosheteria
Utica Greens from Couteau Bonswancounter customizable free hit

31 comments:

  1. Escarole in soup is one of my favorites for winter. It's filling, delicious, and cooking it this way seems to remove some of the bitterness that escarole can have when it's sauteed. I'm definitely going to make this soup -- part of my commitment to eating more dark leafy greens this year.

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  2. Good to see you're still on a soup kick, very hearty.

    I've also found swiss chard to be a good sub. for escarole when it's not avaialble.

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  3. This is funny, I just made a cabbage, bok choy, cannelini, bratwurst soup based on a cabbage bean soup over 101 cookbooks. I'm just doing zone/south beach so no potatoes for me like what was in her recipe.

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  4. I am also depraved of escarole, I am not even sure I would recognize it!

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  5. This is a great soup Kalyn, greens and beans, hearty and delicious!!

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  6. This looks hearty and comforting. And I just found some gluten-free buffalo sausage in town. Synchronicity? Thanks, Kalyn!

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  7. Kalyn, both this one and the one with rosemary are gorgeous! I think I still have time for a few more soups...If I can only make less than 4 liters at a time...

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  8. We've been on a soup kick too. Looks lovely and comforting on a chilly day!

    Lori
    http://TheRecipeGirl.blogspot.com

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  9. Oh my gosh.. I am so glad that someone directed me to your site. The food and pictures look awesome. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  10. That soup looks really terrific Kalyn! Perfect for these cold days, and the vitamin-packed escarole is a great addition!

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  11. Hi Kalyn,
    Your escarole looks really nice! Is my first time dropping by here and found that you really have an interesting site. All your Archives and activities are well categorized! What is actually all the about the Weekend Blog?!
    I think i'm just too new here... lot of things is not up to date... :)

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  12. Thanks to everyone for all the good comments about this soup and escarole. Try it if you haven't had it!

    Bigfish_Chin, you can read about Weekend Herb Blogging in the right sidebar, there is a whole section of stuff about it. It's a weekly blogging event with a different host every week. People write about recipes that feature herbs, plants, veggies, and flowers.

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  13. i know what i'm looking for at the farmer's market this afternoon...

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  14. Oh, soup! You know my weak spot. Escarole and sausages - have done that in ages. I shall set some water to boiling...

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  15. Now that you've discovered the joys of escarole, I'm expecting to see some in your garden this year. It's really easy to grow from seed!

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  16. I know I've probably said this before but you make some of the best soups :) no kidding!

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  17. Kalyn, I have never had escarole! I noticed that my store had it for a few weeks, but by the time I decided to try it, they weren't carrying it anymore.

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  18. You know, I've never tried escarole and I'm ashamed to say, I only recently tried kale - which was awesome...so I'm off to the store to find escarole and try this yummy soup. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Katy and AnneMarie, do try it. The escarole is just delicious.

    Susan, hope so! Greens don't grow too well here though; it gets too hot too soon.

    Cynthia, thanks! It's especially appreciated from a great cook like yourself.

    Pam my store doesn't always have it either, but they get it back again.

    Ruth, don't be ashamed because I've never had kale!! There are so many wonderful greens to try.

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  20. I've got to get on the escarole bandwagon too! I'm in the midst of writing up the round up -- making a comment on each contributor's blog as I write up their entry.

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  21. I only started using escarole for soups and the like. But, sometimes I can't find it in the store. Wonderful soup, Kalyn.

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  22. LOL, Kalyn, it looks like we're going to be the beans & greens twins for WHB this week!

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  23. Oh -- as you know, I love escarole. Your soup looks scrumptious; I love the addition of the sausage (I'm rather a sausage fiend). Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita just did a post about a great-looking escarole soup with tiny meatballs in it. I like escarole soup with rice, as well. And -- thanks for the link to my escarole-chickpea soup! I actually bought a head of escarole yesterday, for soup-making this week...

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  24. Ooops, here I am Kalyn. I've not used escarole at all. I'll try to correct that as soon as I'm home again.
    The cannelini bean and hot Italian Turkey sausage are frequently on our table. I just need that escarole!

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  25. I made this soup tonight and it was so delicious! It's been raining and cold here for more than a week, and this soup absolutely hit the spot. It took some time to make, but it was really easy! Well worth the time and effort.

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  26. Living in a place where there is no Italian sausage of escarole to be bought, I used bulk turkey sausage, spiced it up with a lot of Italian herbs and then used kale as a sub for the escarole. By that time I had no idea what the original recipe would taste like, but mine came out tasting mighty nice.

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  27. Yum! Looks fantastically delicious. Thanks for the mention!

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  28. I am making this soup for the second time in one month, and just cannot get enough of it! I would eat this even if I wasn't dieting. Meals like this help make my diet a change of lifestyle vs a quick fix. Very very good for leftovers to take to work in the morning as well.

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  29. Sarah, so glad you are enjoying it!

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  30. I've made this a million times because it's so easy, so delicious, and so nutritious. The only thing I do differently is that when the soup is done I whisk 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons parm (stir the soup in a circular motion...gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin stands of egg). Extra calories but it's so good!

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    Replies
    1. Love the idea of adding a little egg; I bet that's delicious!

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