Slow-cooker Bean & Sausage Soup

Of all the things I do in the kitchen, the task I probably loathe the most is chopping onions. Perhaps I am just overly sensitive to their surprisingly coy and pungent aroma. Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised when they make me cry...every...single...time. Perhaps I just need to put some of those ridiculous onion goggles on my Christmas wish list this year.

Dear Santa:
I've been good this year. 
Please bring me a pair of onion goggles - 
they would be much appreciated.


But in all seriousness - my temporary solution is to let them sit in the fridge for a bit before I use them. That is, if I remember of course. Take that tip and stuff it in your back pocket.

I live in upstate NY, by the way, and we are currently being inundated with flood and high wind warnings courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. 

A hurricane, in New York you say? A hurricane, but it's almost November you say? 

Funny, Mother Nature missed the memo too. Apparently the South has taken too much of a beating these last few thousand years. Global warming has taken up the ironic and much under appreciated task of rerouting all forthcoming hurricane activity toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast for the next century as a form of "payback". Guess my family had the right idea when they up and moved to Florida two years ago - since then I've dealt with Irene and now Sandy...and they've had a whole lotta nothin'.

But my prayers and thoughts are with all my friends and family who live closer to the shore in Jersey, PA, CT, RI and downstate NY.

Enough talk about the weather - let's get on to the food shall we?

This breezy, chilly Autumn day inspired me to make a few of my favorite things - including soup. I also had some pre-soaked beans and a bunch of kale from my CSA share in the fridge that seemed as though they needed a bit of purpose in life. And I love the way my slow-cooker fills the house with these amazing smells as it simmers away on my counter top. Who needs scented candles when you can cook?! This soup has a little kick to it, via the andouille. Feel free to make substitutions as you feel necessary. You could really use any kind of beans you like - however, if you are going to use canned, I recommend making this soup in a pot on your stove top instead of in the slow-cooker. Therefore you would also drastically reduce the cooking time. Canned beans have a tendency to turn into unrecognizable mush if they simmer away all day...

Slow-cooker Bean & Sausage Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Yields: 4 (generous) servings
  • 8 oz. dry Pinto Beans (soaked as directed overnight)
  • 4 oz. dry White Beans (soaked as directed overnight)
  • 1 tsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 links Andouille-style Chicken Sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced - I like Bilinksi's, it's gluten-free; you could certainly use any other brand, regular Andouille sausage instead of chicken, or even hot italian style sausage if that's what you have on hand
  • 2 large stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 large Carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 large Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme (or 4 sprigs of fresh)
  • 32 oz. low-sodium organic Chicken Broth
  • 8 oz. Water
  • 4 cups Kale, trimmed of stems and chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

1. Place beans, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and thyme in the bowl of your slow-cooker.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté sliced sausage until nicely browned, about five minutes - add to slow-cooker.
3. Pour a small amount of the chicken broth into the warmed skillet (about 1/3 cup), just enough to scrape all those beautiful browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add this, plus remaining broth, and the one cup of water to the slow-cooker. Stir all ingredients.
4. Turn the slow-cooker on to the Low setting and place the lid on top. Allow to cook until the beans are tender, about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
5. About 20 minutes before serving, add the chopped kale and 3/4 tsp of salt to the slow-cooker; stir. Replace the lid and allow the kale to soften for 15-20 minutes.
6. Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper as needed.

Nutrition per Serving: 199 Calories; 3g Fat; 1g Saturated Fat; 42g Carbohydrate; 23g Fiber; 23g Protein

*Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Do me a HUGE favor - serve this with a slice of your best crusty gluten-free bread. Maybe a glass of your favorite white wine. That's what I did :)

Take that Hurricane Sandy!

Happy gluten-free cooking!

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