It’s stinkin‘ cold outside. I want Spring.
Sigh. When I can’t have it just yet (blame the groundhog) but I need warming, it’s time to reach for my trusty old favorite soup recipe. It’s chock full of good-for-you veggies (which we need in this house- 2 flus and one cold in less than a week!), but has the redeeming flavor power of sausage (trust me, you’ll have no clue that this soup is actually healthy for you, it’s so yummy). I got the recipe 7 years ago from Bon Appetit, and it was my first experiment with fresh fennel and kale (which blended so nicely into the soup I had nothing to fear). If you want to make it even healthier, use turkey kielbasa-there is no major flavor difference; if you can’t find fennel bulb, use celery. It won’t be exactly the same, but it comes close.
Trust me on this one-even the kids will eat it:
Cheese Tortellini Soup With Cannellini, Kielbasa, and Kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces fully cooked, smoked kielbasa sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
10 cups chicken broth
4 cups (1/2 bunch) chopped fresh kale
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 9 ounce package cheese tortellini
grated Parmesan/asiago cheese (to pass at the table)
Heat oil in a heavy, large pot over medium high heat. Add the next 6 ingredients and saute until veggies are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 12 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in kale and cannellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer until kale is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add tortellini to soup-simmer until just tender but still firm to the bite, about 3 minutes. Serve piping hot.