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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kielbasa, Take Two: White Bean Soup with Kielbasa and Kale

Allow me to justify posting two soups in a row using kielbasa.

A. This is a soup I made at the end of August, planning to freeze it as part of my back-to-school lunch repetoire. Unfortuntately, I loved it so much I couldn't stop eating it. I ate it twice a day, for both breakfast and lunch, and it was long gone before I started teaching. No lie.

B. Kielbasa was on a Buy-One-Get-One-Free sale.

That should about cover it.

This recipe originally caught my eye in one of my favorite soup cookbooks: Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom. It has turned out to be a real winner in my cookbook collection. Her version uses Spanish Chorizo, which is delicious, but not very easy to find. I've only been able to get it if I'm in Seattle or by mail-order. That doesn't meet my "soup for everyday life" requirements. (Mexican Chorizo, by the way, is a completely different product and the two are not interchangeable.) Kielbasa makes a tasty substitute, in my opinion.

I also loved the idea of this soup because it has 2 sources of protein, the kielbasa plus white beans. But the real selling point for me? It calls for kale. **Pause here for a worshipful moment for kale.** I so love kale. I was sold on the idea of this soup long before I ever made it and tasted its brothy soupy wonderfulness.

White Bean Soup with Kielbasa and Kale
Adapted from Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom

14 oz. beef kielbasa (I usually buy Hillshire Farms)
1 T. olive oil
1 lg. onion, diced
2 lg. carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried thyme
8 c. chicken broth
3 cans cannellini beans, rinsed well (you could also use another white bean like great Northern)
1 head kale, center ribs removed and discarded, leaves washed and chopped (around 5 cups)
2x2" chunk of parmesan rind (optional)

Slice the kielbasa into 1/4" rounds. Heat olive oil in bottom of soup pan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add kielbasa in a single layer and brown on one side, around 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Remove kielbasa with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onions to pan and sautee, stirring to scrape up the fond left by the kielbasa, until the onions are nice and soft, around 5-8 minutes. Add garlic clove, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Sautee for 1 minute. Add in carrots and celery and continue to sautee until vegetables have softened slightly, around 5-8 minutes longer.

Add chicken broth, rinsed beans, and reserved kielbasa to pot, along with the parmesan rind if you're using one. Bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Remove the paremesan rind and add in the kale, stirring until it wilts, approximately 3 minutes.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.


  1. p.s. When I made this, I took about two cups of the beans/broth, pureed it, and then mixed it back into the pot. It gave it a nice, creamy winter texture. Love the blog! Tamara

  2. Tamara - thanks for the feedback! Pureeing sounds yummy too for the days I'm not craving brothy! Glad you stopped by!

  3. oh my heavens! that soup is AMAZING. So amazing that my 2 year old who has lately not been eating anything but blueberries ate 2 bowls! So good. so so good. I have never had kale-wow! Can you tell we liked it? Thanks for sharing Gisch.

  4. Finally made this one - used ham instead of the kielbasa - was a big hit, Thanks! Next is Buffalo Chicken...

    1. Ham would be great too. I love pork products. :)

  5. This was absolutely delish! Followed the recipe to a t which I don't usually do and it turned out great. I even used turkey kielbasa to trim on calories. Paired perfectly with a Guinness beer bread, YUM!

  6. Glad you liked it! And you can't go wrong with a beer bread side!

  7. I made a recipe similar to this- my 2 changes: tirkey kielbasa & used a bag of pre-washed /chopped kale. LOVED it! I am re-pinning your recipe for future enjoyment! Thanks for sharing!

  8. This soup is AWESOME!!!! I make it all the time!!! Thanks.