Chickpea, Kale, and Sausage Soup

 If this blog were a person -- first name Pancakes, last name Biscotti -- it would probably be, not surprisingly, a bit on the chubby side. After all, it would be made up of things like dulce de leche brownies and pumpkin french toast and spaghetti with guanciales'more pieplum cobbler, and risottochocolate chip cookies and cheese-y zucchini tart and lasagne; it would be a pleasant, happy, and well-fed, of course, but it's probably also carrying Pepto Bismol in its pocket. It could probably do with a bit of protein, another serving or two of vegetables, or some whole grains. 

See, while I do share  the occasional salmon or salad or secondo recipe, this blog features heck of a lot of dessert and a lot a lot of carb-y sort of dishes -- if it's not a sweet then it's usually pasta, or rice, or at the very least is something wrapped up in a pastry crust. These to me are the tastiest dishes and what I like to make best.

That being said, I am trying to make a few small changes to the Pancakes & Biscotti here and there, taking stock after nearly 2 1/2 years of blogging. I'm trying to post recipes with ingredient quantities in both cups and grams to make the dishes more accessible to non-Americans;  I have decided to do more Rome-based posts; the blog is now only available in just English rather than Italian and English; and, going back to the beginning of this post, I'll be trying to diversify the recipes I share here. This means I'll be making more of an effort to alternate the cupcakes, cookies, and bucatini with recipes that rely more on the vegetables, protein, and legumes rather than flour, dairy, and sugar, if only to provide a wider range of dishes and get a bit out of my culinary comfort zone. 

Don't worry, though. The next post after this will probably be a recipe for pumpkin scones. I'm not that strong.

This Chickpea, Kale, and Sausage soup -- which falls into the "diversifying" category -- is one of my favorite new creations, with comfort levels akin to a cup of hot tea on a rainy day, or a Harry Potter book read in front of a fire (just me?) It's filling and warming and arguably nutritious thanks to the chickpeas and kale, hearty and super flavorful thanks to the sausage, and with a hint of herb-y freshness thanks to the rosemary. It's exactly what you want to eat now that it's getting cooler out -- yes, it is, and you know it, summer is now officially over -- and it is very easy and quick to throw together. It also makes excellent leftovers, providing cozy dinners for the following days. 

A couple of notes: This recipe is super flexible. You can substitute lentils, white beans, or any other bean or legume you want for the chickpeas; swap the kale for spinach; substitute pancetta or even leftover cooked chicken or turkey for the sausage; you can add in a peeled cubed potato or 1/2 a cup of ditalini pasta if you want to bulk this dish up a bit; you can use either chicken or vegetable broth. Depending on how you feel about the tomatoes, you can leave them out all together, or up the quantity to 2 cups instead of 1 if you want a more tomato based soup (I've done this before with great results).

Want more soup recipes? I've also got this roasted tomato soup, this pasta e fagioli or this turkey, white bean, and spinach soup.

CHICKPEA, KALE, AND SAUSAGE SOUP

Ingredients:
4 sausages (sweet or spicy, up to you) casings removed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 large sprigs of rosemary
6 cups (from three cans, 400 grams each) of chickpeas, drained
1 cup (125 grams) crushed tomatoes
6 cups (from about three 250ml containers) vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups (about 180 grams more or less) kale, ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Put the sausage into the pan and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is golden brown and cooked through, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Put the sausage on a plate lined with paper towels to remove the extra grease.
 In a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heatAdd the chopped onion (as you can see, I used my food processor -- I hate chopping onions) and the whole garlic cloves and cook until the onion is softened. Add the beans to the pot and stir well to mix the onions with the beans. Add the crushed tomatoes and the broth. Wrap the rosemary in a piece of cheesecloth and secure it with kitchen twine (or, if you don't have cheesecloth, you can add the rosemary as is, you will just have some rosemary leaves floating around in your soup). Add the rosemary to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove 3 or so ladle-fuls of the soup (mostly chickpeas and a little broth) and then mash up with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender. This will give the soup a slightly thicker consistency.
Remove the rosemary and stir the pureed mixture back into the soup. Add the sausage in to the soup, stir, and let the soup simmer for another few minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Add the kale and stir.
 Continue to let the soup bubble until the kale is wilted. Serve the soup topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some bread. Serves 6-8.



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