Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Use for that Turkey Stock

By now, you've probably eaten all the leftover turkey, and all that's left are the gallons of stock you made from the carcass.  What do you do with it?  You make soup, of course (and you save some in the freezer for sauces and to make the next batch of stock for, say, the Christmas turkey).

Here's a very quick, hearty soup.  The secret is using canned cannellini beans rather than dried ones.  That saves soaking them overnight and the long cooking the next day.  We're having this for dinner tonight.  This is the second batch I've made since Thanksgiving--it's that good.  Sue says it tastes like what you might get if a Polish person married an Italian and they made soup together.  I think it just tastes good.

Sausage and Bean Soup
(Click here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe)


1 small onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 lb. good smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into quarter-inch slices
3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large bunch of Swiss chard
1 cup vermouth
8 cups stock, such as turkey or chicken
3 15-oz. cans cannellini or other white beans, drained
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


1.  Remove the central ribs from the Swiss chard leaves.  If you would like to add the stems to the soup, chop them as you would celery.  Cut the leaves into quarter-inch ribbons (chiffonade).

2.  Put enough olive oil into a Dutch oven or other large pot to film the bottom.  Warm it over medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and sweat them briefly.  If you are using the chopped chard stems, add them after the onions have cooked a bit.  Add the garlic, which should cook briefly but not brown.  

3.  Turn up the heat a little, and add the sausage.  Brown it lightly.  

3.  Turn the heat back to medium.  Add the cut-up Swiss chard leaves and let them cook until they are wilted a bit.  (They will reduce considerably in volume.  When you first add them, they will nearly fill the pot.  As they cook down, they will fill perhaps one-fourth of the pot.)

4.  Add the vermouth and turn the heat up to medium high.  If there are any brown bits on the bottom of the pot from browning the meat, scrape it up using a wooden spoon.  It will give the soup more flavor and a nice color.

5.  Add the stock and bring it to a simmer.  Let cook 5 or 10 minutes, until the chard is fully cooked.

6.  Add the drained beans, and cook until the beans are hot.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Taste and correct for salt and pepper.  (Do this at the end so that you don’t oversalt it--you probably already salted the stock; the sausage is salty, and so is the cheese.  It may not need any salt at all!)

Serve with crusty bread and pass some grated parmesan for people to add if they like.

This will warm the coldest night--or just a chilly one.  (We only think it gets cold in Phoenix...)  And what's better than a little warmth?

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