In case you didn’t know, there’s actually 13 seasons in the Midwest. While it’s quite frustrating that spring stretches itself out over six “seasons” (Spring of Deception gets me every. TIME!) the Second Summer we’re currently experiencing after last week’s False Fall is quite lovely. Sunny and 80s, baby – I’ll take that all day long!
That said, “Actual Fall” is just around the corner and I’ve got just the thing for you to tuck into when the cool evening air starts whirling through your windows on the regular – Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup. This nourishing, filling soup is PACKED with flavor thanks to two everyday ingredients: chicken stock and a parmesan cheese rind!
Smoked sausage is sautéd with carrots, shallots, and garlic then simmered with creamy white beans and a parmesan cheese rind in chicken stock for just 15 minutes. Just before serving, freshly chopped spinach and grated parmesan cheese is stirred in until wilted. This soup recipe is a DREAM.
Using Parmesan Cheese Rinds in Soup
My first hack for making quick cooking soups taste like they’ve been simmering all day is adding a parmesan cheese rind to the stock while it simmers. Have you tried this before? The rind adds a deep, savory, slow-cooked flavor that you’d never being able to identify as “parmesan cheese rind”, which I guess is a good thing because…weird? I don’t even add salt to this soup because the rind completely flavors and seasons it.
I sliced the rind from my wedge of parmesan cheese then threw it into this soup (picture below) though Whole Foods (and likely your regular grocery store’s cheese counter!) sells bags of parmesan cheese rinds for this very purpose. If you regularly go through wedges of parmesan cheese at your house, simply throw the rind when you’ve used all the cheese into a Ziplock freezer bag then stash in the freezer. They’ll keep for months and you can throw them into any soup recipe to add a burst of flavor.
Chicken Stock vs Chicken Broth
The other way I pack as much flavor as possible into this sausage and white bean soup (and all my soups/stews for that matter!) is by using chicken stock vs chicken broth for the liquid. Chicken stock is made with bones, vegetables, and aromatics (garlic, onion, etc) and is simmered for several hours. Chicken broth contains meat but not bones, and is simmered for a short period of time. Translation: stock’s got a TON of flavor! I use Costco’s Kirkland-brand organic chicken stock which, at the time of this writing, is certified gluten free. Fantastic flavor, and price!
Alrighty – fire up the stove and let’s get cooking!
How to Make Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup:
Start by sauting sliced carrots and shallots (or onions) in a little extra virgin olive oil until crisp tender.
Next add sliced polish kielbasa then continue to saute until the sausage has a little color on it, and the vegetables are completely tender.
Next add chicken stock, drained and rinsed Great Northern Beans (I like Bush’s brand) and a couple dried bay leaves.
Then add in that parmesan cheese rind which is going to give the soup the most tremendous flavor. I can’t wait for you to try it!
Simmer the soup for 15 minutes then add chopped fresh baby spinach and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.
Lastly, sprinkle in freshly grated parmesan cheese for a hit of even more savory flavor.
That’s all she wrote! Ladle the soup into bowls then serve with crispy gluten free crostini, or a hunk of warm french bread if you’re not gluten free. UGH!! So much goodness here – I hope you love this nourishing, flavor-packed soup – enjoy!
- Tuscan Sausage and Vegetable Stew >
- Ham and Bean Soup >
- Italian Sausage, Spinach and Tomato Soup >
- Sweet Corn, Kielbasa and Potato Soup >
- Black Bean Soup >
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Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup
Smoked Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup is full of wholesome ingredients and packed with flavor thanks to two special ingredients.
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot or onion, chopped
- 1 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
- 8oz polish kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 15oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3" piece Parmesan cheese rind
- 3 packed cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallot or onion and carrots then saute until crisp tender, 5-7 minutes, placing a lid on top for the last few minutes to help speed along the softening process. Turn heat up slightly then add kielbasa and continuing sauting until sausage starts turning golden brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic then saute until extremely fragrant and golden brown, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add a glug of chicken broth then use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Add remaining chicken broth plus beans, bay leaf, and parmesan cheese rind then turn heat up to high to bring soup to a bubble. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add fresh spinach and grated parmesan cheese then stir and simmer until spinach is wilted, 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaves (you can leave parmesan cheese rind in to continue to flavor the soup) then scoop into bowls and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.