escarole and white bean soup

4    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
35 minutes

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escarole bean soup

Sam and I spent our fall vacation roaming around California, which is our annual migratory pattern. In the process we experienced every season in one trip: torrential spring-like rains when we left; blasting summer heat in LA; snow the first night we got to Tahoe, followed by sheer blue fall days. Now we’re home and it’s Indian summer in San Francisco. What’s a cook to do? Soup, I say. And if I can find the ingredients for this one on a snowy day in Round Hill, Nevada, you can wherever you live, in any season. That’s because it’s simply beans, greens, and sausage that can be combined however you want (vary the sausage; use Swiss chard or kale instead; use big cannellinis or small navy beans.) For today, let’s call it Escarole and White Bean Soup. Sound good?


1 yellow onion chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound sausages, sliced (see note)
1 head escarole or 1 bunch chard or kale (see note)
salt and pepper
6 cups homemade chicken stock or 4 cups canned chicken broth and 2 cups water
1-1/2 cups cooked white beans or a 15-oz can cannellini  beans
grated parmesan cheese, optional


In a large saucepan or medium soup pot, saute the onion in the oil over medium-high heat for a minute or two until soft, then add the sausages and continue to cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink and onions are golden, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, get escarole ready by cutting off the core end, then stacking and slicing the leaves crosswise into ribbons. Put the greens in a big bowl and fill with cold water; swish greens to get out all the grit, then drain through a colander. Drop greens into the soup pan with the water clinging to them. Stir until greens just start to wilt, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the beans (and liquid, if using canned), cover, and cook 10 minutes more. Let soup sit off heat for a few minutes before ladling into bowls; garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.

note: you can use hot or mild Italian sausages, spicy turkey or chicken sausages, even andouille or linguisa. I slice the pork sausages up thickly so I get big bites that are like cheater meatballs. But you can crumble the meat out of the casings when you add it to the onion mixture if you like smaller bits, or you can chop andouille or linguisa into small pieces. To use chard or kale instead of escarole, remove the leaves from the stems, then chop the leaves and add as directed for the escarole