As I write this it's a beautiful spring day outside, 52 degrees according to the thermometer, so the season for warm wintry soups is nearly over. But the weather for next week is calling for rain and temps dipping back down again. We live in MT, it could snow in June in some areas, so I think we still have time for a hearty soup. This recipe was for the stovetop, but as you can see I have this sweet old school Crock Pot, so I included instructions for either option. It's perfect for ski days, where you just dump in the ingredients and go. Then when you return after a day on the slopes, your home smells lovely and dinner is ready. Enjoy!
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, sliced into 3/4 inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb dried great Northern beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons salt
2 thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 large rosemary sprig (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 bay leaf
black pepper to taste
Instructions for the Crock Pot:
Put all the ingredients, except the sausage into your slow cooker. Add 7 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours. When you are about ready to serve, roast the sausage in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Slice the sausage and add it with any juices to the soup. While the sausage is roasting, remove 2-3 cups of soup and blend it until smooth. Return this to the soup and mix. Serve in bowls using pepper to taste.
Instructions for the stove top:
In a large stockpot sauté the sausage on medium-high until brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot and cook, stirring until it becomes dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, 8 cups of water, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about two hours or until the beans are tender. You may need to add more water to keep the beans submerged.
When the beans are soft, take out 2-3 cups of the beans and blend them until smooth, returning them back to the soup. Then add the sausage and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls adding pepper to taste.