So, what does this have to do with food anyway? Well, as I'm sewing busily away in my craft room the last thing I want to do is stop everything to make dinner. This is when I love my slow cooker. Everything gets put together either in the morning or at lunch & then I have the whole afternoon to sew without stop. This soup gave me the time to quilt a whole quilt yesterday.
Served with some crusty bread this soup makes for a hearty winter meal with lots of flavor. It uses just a little stock & mainly water as the base because the sausage & beans impart so much flavor to the broth. Chose a good flavorful, garlicy sausage.
Let's talk beans. We used Rancho Gordo Snocap beans in this soup. They are bigger than the navy bean I would usually use in this type of soup & have a wonderful creamy texture. But really you can use any white bean in it. Using dried beans though, does really make a difference here because of the flavor they add to the broth while cooking. I totally recommend buying good dried beans like Rancho Gordo's. They have such a variety & the flavors & textures are so superior to most we get in the grocery store. We usually stock up with a few pounds whenever we go to San Francisco but they are available online & are starting to pop up in stores around the country. I know here in Minneapolis you can now get them at Surdyk's.
Sausage & Bean Soup
2 oz pancetta, diced (substitute bacon if you wish)
4 oz onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 c chicken stock
2 c water
1 c dried white beans, rinsed
2 polish sausages (brat size), cut in half length-wise & then sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 t worchestershire sauce
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dried sage
a couple grinds of fresh pepper
a few dashes hot sauce
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta & cook until it renders its fat & begins to get crispy. Add the onions, carrots, celery & garlic to the skillet & sauté until the onion begins to get translucent.
Put all the the ingredients into a slow cooker. Turn to high & let cook for 4 1/2 - 5 hours until the beans are tender. (This time will really be depended on the size of your beans, we used quite a large bean.)
Makes 4 servings
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