Friday, December 16, 2011

Tuscan Sausage and Bean Soup

I needed something for the crockpot last night; we were making a trip to the ski slopes and were planning on getting in back just in time to get Rosie Jane to dance.  I wanted dinner to be ready when Sweet Pea and I got home so we could eat as it was going to be late.  This was good, first time we'd tried it.  One thing I need to remember is to add things like Italian sausage close to the end.  For some reason, it looses all it's flavor when it cooks all day.  Not sure if it's just me or what, but fully cooking it then adding at the end works much better.

Tuscan Sausage and Bean Soup
modified from BHG.com

1 1/4 c dry Great Northern beans
1 3/4 c beef broth
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
12 oz fresh Italian sausage links, cut into1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow summer squash or zuchini, sliced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/3 c dry red wine or water
1/2 of a 10 oz. package frozed chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse beans.  In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beans and 4 cups cold water.  Boil uncovered for 10 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet cook Italian sausage until brown.  Drain well on paper towels.  In a crockpot combine the drained beans, 4 cups fresh water, beef broth, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, undrained tomatoes, and red wine or water.  Cook, covered, on low heat setting for 22-12 hours or until beans are tender.

About 30 minutes before serving add the fully cooked sausage and squash.  Just before serving, stir spinach into soup.  If desired, sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Depending on how hot your crockpot cooks, you may need less time.  I think I dished up our soup after 8 or 9 hours and the beans were fully cooked.  It will depend also on how fresh your dried beans are when you use them.

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