I call these frost feathers and they are especially beautiful this morning! Every window in the upper story of the grey cottage is decked out with different patterns. The temperature was -8°F … that’s -22°C for those who use the Celsius measurements.
It's cold and our house is drafty just by virtue of its age and the condition of its architecture ... like the front door. Poor old door lets a creep of cold air in that contributes to the drafts from the spaces in the old wood floors and the drafts at the old windows ... it's the hazard of living in an old house. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but when it's cold like this, I do like to make warm and cozy suppers.
Which brings me to this soup ... yesterday's supper served with big crisp flatbreads all decked out with garlic powder, basil, kosher salt and olive oil. The kale was added at the last minute and served while it still had some crunch to it. The sausage is a garlic and cheese sausage that is made at our local meat market. The white beans were treated to a partial mash-up so that the soup was slightly thickened. Added herbs were parsley, a bit of oregano and red pepper flakes. The chicken broth base was fortified with two teaspoons of homemade tomato paste that I canned at the end of the summer. The soup was good ... very good.
Flatbreads are so easy to make. The dough is a combination of all-purpose flour and semolina flour. It has a very short knead time and sits for one hour in a warm setting. Then, you simply divide it into four small balls or two larger ones, flatten them to about ⅛ to ¼ inch thickness, brush them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle on the herb toppings that you like. By the time you have them formed, the oven is pre-heated. They bake in a very hot oven for just 7 to 10 minutes and voila! Hot and crispy flatbreads! You can find the recipe I use for flatbreads here. I posted on them wayyy back when I first started The Spice Garden. They are a basic in my kitchen because they are so simple and versatile.
When it's cold and blustery, you just HAVE to cozy the place up and in my book, nothing does it like a big pot of soup and a kitchen that smells of baking bread.
Leftovers for lunch today!
White Bean and Sausage Soup with Kale
Make 4 -6 servings
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet white onion, small dice
2 large carrots, peeled and small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large cheese and garlic sausages (or any sausage that you like), sliced into small bite-sized coins
2 tbsp. rendered fat from frying the sausage (incorporate the 'crisps' from the pan in the measurement)
2 - 15 oz. cans white beans (cannellini beans work best here)
6 c. strong clear chicken stock
2 tsp. tomato paste
¼ to ½ tsp. red pepper flakes2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 medium-sized bunch of fresh washed kale, stems removed and sliced into ribbons
black pepper for sprinkling over the soup
good grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the soup
Making the Soup:
1. Warm a claypot or heavy stockpot over medium heat.
2. When the pot is warmed, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and carrots and cook them until they glisten.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, open and drain the white beans. Rinse them well. Place about ⅓ of the beans in a flat-bottomed bowl and mash them to a paste. Reserve the rest of the beans.
4. When the onions and carrots are softened and shiny, add the mashed beans and stir to coat the vegetables, add the chicken stock, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, parsley, and oregano. Stir to break up the paste and incorporate the spices. Bring the soup to a soft boil and then lower the heat and simmer.
5. In a non-stick fry pan, fry the sausage coins until they are browned and crisped. Transfer them to the soup and add the 'crisps and about 2 tbsp. of the pan fats and juices also.
6. Turn the reserved white beans into the soup and stir gently so that the beans stay intact. Let the soup simmer for an hour to meld all the flavours.
7. About fifteen minutes before you want to eat, add the kale ribbons to the soup and gently fold them down into the soup's broth so that they cook evenly.
8. Serve the soup in big bowls sprinkled with plenty of black pepper and some good grated Parmesan.