Chorizo & Heirloom Bean Soup

chorizo-bean-soupA spicy, hearty, sausage-stuffed soup, the beans almost hide in this one, making it a good option for people who aren’t quite sure that they like legumes. Yet, while spicy chorizo sausage flavors this soup, it’s also packed full of vegetables, good homemade stock and heirloom beans, stretching a single pound of meat to easily feed 10 people.

The recipe below makes a big pot of soup, so it’s handy that the soup freezes well, because this is just the thing for those bone-chilling days in February when the thermometer hasn’t climbed into double-digits for days, or even those grey, rainy April days, when it seems that summer will never come. Never fear: it will. Just don’t forget to put-up some tomatoes: you’ll want to make this soup once February rolls ’round once again.

chorizo-bean-soupChorizo & Heirloom Bean Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ lb dried heirloom beans, white or cranberry variety, soaked overnight (I used local Maine soldier beans)
  • sea salt
  • 1 lb cured chorizo, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled & sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, with leaves if possible, trimmed & sliced
  • 1 large leek, white & pale green parts, washed well, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes
  • 2 quarts stock, chicken or pork
  • 4 oz (about 6 large leaves) bok choi, or other Asian green, thinly sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHODS

  1. Transfer soaked beans + soaking liquid to a medium saucepan or Dutch oven. Add additional water to cover by 2 inches, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, then simmer on low until tender, about 60 – 90 minutes. Add 1 tsp salt about 30 minutes into the cooking time. Once tender, drain beans and set aside.
  2. In a large, wide Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sausages, cut side down, in batches if necessary (do not crowd the pot). Fry both sides until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side, then remove to a clean plate.
  3. To the sausage grease in the pot add carrots, parsnip, celery, leek, onion and garlic. Sauté over medium-low heat, stirring up browned bits of fond as you go, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add oregano and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes (break up larger tomatoes as necessary), stock, drained beans, and sausage. If using homemade or low sodium stock, add 1 tsp salt. Bring soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Add bok choi and simmer until just bright green, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add black pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings. Serve hot, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkling of paprika.

Serves 8 – 10.

chorizo-bean-soupOPTIONS

  1. A ½ lb of dried beans equals about two 15-oz cans of canned beans when cooked.
  2. A spicy chorizo makes the entire soup (deliciously) spicy: if you’d like a milder soup, consider adding the sausage only in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

STORE

Refrigerated for up to 1 week. Frozen for up to 6 months.

SEASON

Winter into those early, chilly Spring days.

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