We made this beautiful soup the other day that sort of typifies how our eating will go throughout the winter and now that the September Eat Local Challenge is behind us. The cannelini beans, lacinato kale, and onions were from Meadow’s Mirth Farm, the garlic was from New Roots Farm, and the andouille sausage and tortellini were from the store. Yup, the plain old grocery store. I can’t really imagine a meal that doesn’t have its basis in local foods, but fill-ins from the store are much more frequent in the winter.
The inspiration was an old Gourmet Magazine recipe that we just about tripled, and are happy we did as the leftovers are getting better and better every day.
Tortellini, kale, cannelini bean, and sausage soup (rough concept):
Soak and cook 1 1/2 cups cannelini beans, about 1 hour for soaking, 1.5 hours for cooking if you are using fairly fresh dried beans. I suppose you could use canned, about two cans, in which case they don’t need cooking. In a giant pot, saute 2 or 3 chopped yellow onions in vegetable oil, along with a whole head of minced garlic and 1 lb of andouille sausage sliced (you could certainly substitute a different spicy sausage). When the sausage is browned and the onions are cooked, add the beans to the pot. Add plenty of water or stock, bring to a simmer. Remove the stems from 2 large bunches of kale (we used the more tender and mild lacinato, or dinosaur, kale) and then roughly chop. Add to the soup. Add a large bag or package of tortellini. Allow to simmer until the tortellini is cooked through, 5 – 8 minutes. Serve with hard grated cheese such as grana padano (my favorite) or parmesan and a sprinkle of hot chile.
Try to make this a day ahead and it will be even more amazing as the beans break down and thicken the soup and the flavors meld.