What a difference a day makes — it’s chilly outside in Southern California and yesterday it hailed. I couldn’t think of anything, but soup after enjoying five days of beach weather. My mind and body want more summertime, yet I know we’re still in the middle of winter. I do like it (briefly) when it dips below 55 degrees. That may seem ridiculous to some people, but when you’re raised in warm weather, it’s hard to do cold or should I say, cooler. However, I love the food that fits in these chilly temperatures and a good soup is on the top of my list. There’s nothing like a brothy bath or pot filled with white beans, savory sausage and some wilted greens….I can’t think of anything else I crave more at the moment.
Making a quick pot of soup for dinner with just a handful of items couldn’t be more pleasing. Canned beans are a friend when you need something fast, hardy and flavorful to build a soup. Cannellini beans are my favorite and I always store a few cans in the pantry for recipes like this one. Italian sausage either mild or spicy is a quick fix for protein that can be added to almost anything. Just remove the casings and pull off knobs of meat and plop them into the simmering broth. Fresh arugula is one of my favorite greens – I enjoy it raw in salads and pesto, but also wilted in soups and stews. The combination of ingredients makes a satisfying meal, not to mention it’s easy to prepare. A big bowl with a few crackers or bread for dunking and you’ll be as happy as a clam. The leftovers are great for lunch or you can freeze them, and enjoy at a later date.
1 white onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 links Italian sausage with casings removed, about 1/2 pound
14 ounce can white beans, drained
1 quart chicken stock
1 bay leaf, optional
1 1/2 cups fresh arugula
olive oil for cooking
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and place over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic, stir. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt, oregano and red pepper, stir. Pull knobs of sausage into balls and drop into saucepan, stir gently. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add white beans and stock, stir to combine. When simmering, lower heat to simmer and add bay leaf (if using). Place lid over top and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and add arugula. Stir to combine and let wilt in liquid for 4 minutes before ladling into bowls. Enjoy!