Hibernation & soup....it's a warm thing

As the temperatures continue to fall below freezing, all I can think about is warm and hearty meals. Casseroles, soups and stews, and anything laden with cream and fat to help put an extra layer of insulation on the old arthritic bones. I've gone into hibernation and as a result my kitchen is a non-stop flurry of heat producing activity.

Turkey Sausage and Bean Soup was a weekly request by one of my clients back in my days as a personal chef. It was common practice for me that, after I had cooked for a particular client for any length of time, my tastes in food became very similar to theirs and this very quickly became one of my favorites as well. I'm amazed at how much flavor the Italian turkey sausage provides ~ you'll notice there are no herbs or spices called for in the recipe. And as with any soup, it can be modified to accomodate whatever you do or do not have in your pantry at the time and it freezes exceptionally well. I've been known to saute a bit of cabbage along with the other veggies and I'll even go wild sometimes and vary the type of beans, crazy girl that I am. Like mushrooms? Throw some of those in as well. Whatever floats your boat, but rest assured it is excellent when prepared as written and served with a thick slice (or three) of butter-laden, freshly baked French bread. Yum Yum!

Sending you warm wishes and rising temperatures soon....

Turkey Sausage & Bean Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery -- chopped
2 large carrots -- chopped
1 medium red bell pepper -- diced
1 medium onion -- diced
3 cloves garlic
16 ounces Italian-style turkey sausage -- casings removed
42 ounces chicken broth
16 ounces diced tomatoes
16 ounces navy beans -- rinsed and drained
15 ounces kidney beans -- rinsed and drained
salt and pepper -- to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white wine

In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add bell pepper, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and saute until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Crumble sausage into skillet. Break up chunks of sausage with spoon, and cook until vegetables are tender and lightly browned and sausage is cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, white beans, and white wine to saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to blend flavors. Adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Serve soup sprinkled with Parmesan.

"Wish Upon A Chef Catering & Gourmet Market, 2006"
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