Creole White Beans

I have an abundance of fresh kale from a local farm and I'm getting behind in consuming it. So my first thought was kale and white bean soup. Only thing is: it's summer. The thought of a hot thermos of soup for lunch in August just didn't cut it. So I came up with this instead.

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or great northern beans (or 1 can prepared beans)
  • if using canned beans, 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 small links andouille sausage, quartered lenghtwise, then cut into medium dice (I used a chicken sausage from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 large yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

If using dried beans, soak overnight in water. Drain and add to a saucepan large enough to allow you to cover the beans with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, skim the foam off the top, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until tender. If you have bacon rind or a ham hock handy, add that to the cooking liquid.

Drain the beans once tender, reserving the cooking liquid. If using canned, drain and rinse the beans.

When the beans are almost done cooking, render the sausage on medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and discard as much of the fat as you would like. Add crushed red pepper to the pan along with the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. With a wooden spoon or heat-proof scraper, work the vegetables into the browned bits at the bottom of the pan to remove them and prevent burning. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with a cup of reserved cooking liquid (or chicken stock) and add the kale. Continue to cook until kale is wilted and liquid is nearly all gone, about 10 minutes. Deglaze a second time, adding the beans, cooking until the liquid is nearly all gone again. 

Check seasonings and serve immediately.

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