I have been SO excited to tell you about this soup. It's my new fall signature dish, and I haven't met a single person who doesn't like it.
It's simple, first and foremost. The ingredients are easy to find, there aren't too many of them, and they all add a ton of flavor to the finished dish. The whole soup can be made in about 30 minutes, and you can eat it right away or let it simmer for a little while, whatever works.
I actually have two meals like this for your Thanksgiving week - meals that are simple, delicious, and appeal to lots of people. This soup is gluten free and can be dairy free with the cheese on top omitted, and I use local sausage and kale because the flavor is SO much better. You can use any sausage you like, hot or mild, any kind of kale you can find, even pre-chopped bagged stuff to save even more time. The kale and sausage combine with stock, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and that's IT. Throw in some white beans (or skip them for a lower carb option), blanket the whole thing in parmesan, and good to go.
I love this for nights when people are kind of coming and going, which seems to happen so much more in the fall, and I love it for holiday weeks where you definitely need to eat but making multiple dishes for a meal isn't as much fun when Thursday involves SO many dishes and steps. Let's do it!
You need sausage, kale, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, and chicken stock. Beans if you'd like, maybe some parm for topping. I've made this with rosemary and thyme and the extra flavors are great, but I wanted to write the recipe as simply as possible, and it is just as delicious without the extra ingredients, so why bother?
First, place the sausage in a soup pot over medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon as you go, until it's crumbly, browned, and cooked through, maybe 10 minutes or so.
While the sausage is working, I shred the kale, chop the onion, and mince the garlic. You can also do this in advance if you're organized! But, the sausage cook time is almost exactly the amount of time you'll need to prep the veggies.
When the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and stir it into the sausage for about two minutes, then add the kale and garlic.
Stir the veggies into the sausage and onions for 5 minutes or so just to start to wilt, then add the stock, the tomatoes with their juices, and the beans, also undrained. The bean juice is key here; it helps thicken the soup just slightly and give it a really hearty consistency.
The. End. Seriously. Let the soup simmer for as long as you can manage, and add more stock if it reduces a lot or gets very thick. Taste the soup every once awhile and add salt to your preference, the soup should be very flavorful but how much salt you need will depend on your tomatoes, stock, and sausage, which all have salt in them.
Seriously, nothing could be easier. I've made this three times - for Halloween, for our mountain weekend, and just a few days ago when some neighbors came over to hang. The reviews have been glowing each time, and the fact that the soup is so simple means people want the recipe to make all season long for their families. I can't rave about it enough.
I love Thanksgiving week so much, and having dishes like this that you can whip up makes extra time together all the more special without adding a ton of stress + mess.
PS this isn't terrible to watch in front of a football game either.
- 2 pounds Italian sausage, local-ish if you can find it
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 bunch kale, thinly slice (about 4 cups total when cut up)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes in their juices
- 3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 15 ounces canned white beans in their juices (don't drain)
- salt, as needed
- For serving: Bread, crushed red pepper, fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese
- In a large soup pot, add the sausage over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage for about 10 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as you go, until crumbly, browned, and cooked through.
- Add the onion and stir it into the sausage for two minutes to soften slightly.
- Add the kale and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so to wilt the kale.
- Add the tomatoes with juices, beans with juices, and stock to the pot. Stir to combine and taste; add salt to your preference.
- Bring the soup to a bubble then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or let sit turned off on the stove until you'd like to eat. If the soup reduces by a lot or gets too thick, add more stock to thin it about about 1/2 cup at a time.
- Serve with bread for dunking, and crushed red pepper, fresh parsley, and grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling.