Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stuff in Liquid: Sausage and bean soup

Stuff-on-Stuff, Stuff-in-Stuff, Stuff-in-Liquid, Stuff-between-Stuff.  These are the terms I came up with to impress a girl.  Very impressive, no?  But I'm serious: when I came up with this "Stuff-on-Stuff" business, I was looking for a broad way to talk about food, to categorize all foods.  Stuff-on-Stuff includes foods like nachos and open-faced sandwiches, whereas Stuff-in-Liquid is the soups.  This particular soup is a rendition of a soup my dad makes.  He called me the other day for culinary advice--i.e. he just wanted to say hello--and I told him that his sausage and bean soup sounded good.  It sounded good.  Then I hung up and thought that I could do it better.  Bear with me...

The other day, while watching a documentary about the making of Under the Volcano, I realized something quite important.  Between takes, Geoffrey (played by Albert Finney) was talking to the director, John Huston, and smoking a cigarette.  They were shooting the lunch scene.  Off-camera, all the actors were smoking a lot, so much so that their dinner jackets, i.e. their costumes, must have smelled like cigarette smoke.  But when I watched the movie, I could not smell cigarette smoke.  Aroma is one thing that film cannot capture.  The same is true here.  You might get the sense of how this soup smelled, but you cannot actually smell it.  Nor, my friends, can you taste it.     

Without the noodles, the soup looks more elegant.  It's also less filling.  The original idea was to make some chicken tortellini, but I skipped that option for a couple reasons I won't get into now, but mainly they were that it would have been too labor intensive and I was hungry.  The point is, well, I have no point anymore.  This sausage and bean soup is really easy to make.  My dad uses boxed chicken stock, which I don't recommend but which you can do, and canned beans, which I also don't recommend.  In any case, this is what I did:


1 bunch kale
2 big links of spicy Italian sausage (you can use mild)
2 jalapenos
2 quarts chicken stock
egg noodles (or other noodle, elbow mac?) 
carrots (to preference)
beans (to preference)


Bang some oil into your biggest soup pot and brown your sausages on medium-low or low heat.  Cook them until their done or nearly done, then pull them out and put them aside.  Now your cooking oil (to which you can definitely add some bacon grease if you have some handy; I did) should have some sausage fat flavor.

Dump your carrots and jalapeno into the oil and sautee them for a bit.  You don't want to overcook them; cook them just until they get a little color, then dump in your chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer.

Meanwhile you should be cooking your noodles, cutting your sausages into pieces, blanching or steaming your kale (you can cook your kale in the soup but it will turn the broth dark if you do), and cooking (or opening your can of) beans.  Basically, once the carrots are perfectly done, you add the rest of the ingredients and simmer a bit longer.  If your sausages have squirted some fats and juices into their bowl, be sure to dump that stuff back into the soup.  Finally, season with salt.

This is a very delicious and easy soup and, like good foods, it leaves you feeling satisfied but not over-full. 

1 comment:

Sam said...

Kale huh? Okay, I know it's so good for you, and in this it looks divine. So I'm on board .. Keri