I found this soup in an old Cooking Light magazine and have been enjoying it lately. It's light enough for summer, but hearty and warming enough for autumn and winter. Now normally I don't go in for "lite" cooking, as you can tell from reading this blog, but this is one case where a relatively light recipe actually has some flavor. So, I guess even the Eat'n Man can eat light once in a while.
Now, I don't know what is particularly 'North Woods' about North Woods Bean Soup, but I like the name. It brings to mind many pleasant excursions I've made into the North Woods of Maine and New England, and there's something ever so pleasant when your food has you thinking pleasant thoughts before you've even tasted it.
The North Woods of Maine. Inviting? Yes!
North Woods Bean Soup
1 Cup Carrots, Cut into Quarter Inch Pieces
1 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
7 Ounces Turkey Kielbasa, Halved and cut into 1/2-Inch Pieces
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Teaspoon Italian 2easoning
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 16 Oz Cans Great Northern beans
4 Oz Fresh Spinach Leaves
This dish uses Turkey Kielbasa as its protein.
You can replace it with a nice, hearty, smoked beef sausage, but the soup won't be as light. I like it both ways, but the smoke flavor is definitely a plus. And remember, you could smoke that turkey kielbasa yourself and keep it light but flavorful.
Dice your carrots,
And your onion and mince the garlic. Add them all to a good sized stock pot.
Slice the kielbasa in half length-wise, then cut these into half inch pieces.
Add them to the pot.
Sauté over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the Italian seasoning and black pepper.
Now, normally I don't go in for premixed seasonings, preferring instead to mix my own on the spot, but this dish is simple, and premixed seasonings were made for stuff like this. They don't get used much in my kitchen, but this is one instance where they do.
Sauté this for a minute or two, then add your chicken stock.
Now, this is one place I departed from the Cooking Light Recipe. They call for fat free, low sodium chicken broth. Now, regular chicken broth is pretty low fat anyway, but I like the salt, and I'd end up adding it to the soup anyway, so I just get regular chicken stock. One advantage of the salt free broth, though, is that you can control the amount of salt, so if you want to go that route, knockyaselfout!
Add the great northern beans.
What makes these beans northern? I don't know. Same as with the soup recipe (North Woods, remember?) Maybe it's the great northern beans that make this soup northern? In any case, they are lovely beans.
Let this simmer for 20 minutes for so, then remove two cupfuls, making sure to get plenty of the beans. Process these two cups of soup in a food processor until a thick pasty liquid forms. Add this back to the soup. Stir until it is nice and thickened. Add the spinach and cook just long enough for the spinach to wilt.
Serve immediately, maybe with some crusty bread or similar.
Until Next Time,
See you in the Woods...