This is an easy recipe for a simple and delicious Italian bean soup. I love soups in cold weather. Unfortunately, it is still not that cool here in central Florida. Actually it is still so warm, we are running the air conditioner! Many Floridians here say that they cannot get into the spirit with the sweltering heat. I completely disagree though. You can have a wonderful Christmas no matter the weather, even if you are sporting shorts and a t-shirt, rather than a pair of mittens and a warm scarf.
Over the weekend we had the opportunity to visit Ice at the Gaylord Palm’s here in Orlando. It is a magnificent display of beautiful ice sculptures in a brisk 9 degrees. We were so excited to be attending, we bought our tickets for 6:30 on Saturday evening, and I made plans on how many layers each of us would be wearing. I dressed my toddler in his fluffy footed pajamas, added a pair of pants and a sweater, and the thickest winter coat I could find. I added mittens and a hat to my son. I wore 2 pairs of pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, a sweater, a cardigan, a heavy leather jacket, boot socks, and leather boots. My husband had a t-shirt, his jeans, a mock neck sweater, a fur lined hoodie, and a thick leather jacket. We rode with the a/c blasting all the way there and in only part of our clothing that we planned to wear. When we arrived, we finished dressing and went inside. To our disbelief, they was a line, it ended up being a 2 hour line! Not so easy with a screaming toddler in blistering heat with layer upon layer of clothing.
When we finally got through the line, we were all soaked with sweat, I thought we would all catch pneumonia if we went into the cold and were wet, so we all then took the additional winter parkas that they give out to wear. We all continued to sweat profusely through the whole exhibit, but were afraid to take the parkas off, for fear of being cold and wet! My point is silly southerners don’t have a clue what 9 degrees feels like. We dressed as if we were going to Alaska or something. The nine degrees we experienced in the Ice exhibit had no humidity or wind either, so it really didn’t feel that cold.
The whole experience was too funny though, because we thought we were going to experience a chilly Christmas event at the Gaylord Palm’s Ice, when in fact we experienced a typically all too warm Florida Christmas.
Here is a great recipe for a light soup you can easily enjoy in the winter or on a warmer day. It is filled with nutritious kale and cannellini beans. Sweet Italian sausage give this soup the best flavor. I added a large can of Italian tomatoes. You can buy the ones with basil or basil and oregano already added. This is a great quick cooking soup that tastes delicious, and has beautiful Christmas colors, perfect for this time of year.
A quick tip for washing greens: Wash them 3 times in your sink. In the first wash add a little salt and vinegar. Rub the leaves between your fingers gently, and wash them well.
5 links fresh Italian sweet sausage, cut in chunks
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 lb fresh kale, washed and chopped
1 35 oz can Italian tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can Cannellini Beans
1 quart chicken stock
Preheat a large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Brown the Italian sausage. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until tender.
Then add the chopped kale, chicken stock, Cannellini beans and tomatoes.
To get the right consistency, you may want to add a little more water, but don't do this until the greens have wilted so you know what you are working with.