Wow. It has been ages since my last blog post. So much has happened! We welcomed our daughter, June, on Christmas Eve. We are so in love with her, and Owen is such a sweet big brother. Everyday when he gets home from school he runs straight to her yelling “Juuuuune!” and smothers the top of her head with kisses.
It’s been a joyful time, for sure, but also a deeply sad one. Shortly after June was born, my father-in-law passed away. He was one of the most generous, gentle-hearted men I’ve ever met, and he had a great gift for storytelling. He was a wonderful grandfather too, and a big part of Owen’s life. We miss him everyday, and his absence–kind of like June’s presence–still feels a bit shocking and new.
In the midst of these two huge life events, my blog felt a million miles away. The last thing I wanted to do was pick up my camera, edit photos, or write a blog post.
But that’s not to say I wasn’t cooking. On the contrary–I’ve been in the kitchen every single day. When you are simultaneously nesting and grieving, I discovered, you bake a lot of cookies and make a lot of soup.
I made this chicken sausage, escarole, and white bean soup on a chilly Sunday in January, and we enjoyed it for the better part of a week. It’s deeply flavorful, soul-warming stuff: tons of veggies, a little bit of meat, and a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese to tie it all together.
But before I share the recipe, can we all just pause for a minute. How adorable is she?!?
I swear I could just eat her up. Just kidding…sort of. I’m breastfeeding on demand, which makes me completely ravenous and insanely thirsty. I’ve been craving hearty, brothy soups like this one because they are so nourishing and hydrating.
A few notes:
The Parmesan rind is optional, but I highly recommend that you use it. I save the rinds of Parmesan cheese in a plastic bag in the freezer. They keep forever, and they add so much flavor when tossed into a pot of soup.
You can use whatever veggies you have on hand in this recipe. I found a couple of carrots, a sad bunch of celery, and half a container of cremini mushrooms in my vegetable drawer, so into the pot they went.
If you buy quart-sized cartons of chicken stock, this recipe will leave you with two extra cups. I found that the soup thickened a bit in the refrigerator, so when I reheated it I added a bit more stock each time.
I’ve missed sharing recipes with you! I’m ready to get back to it, slowly but surely. My goal is to post once a week right now. The hardest thing is finding the time and energy. But the second hardest things is deciding what to make. I have a stack of bookmarked cooking magazines and cookbooks by my bed. Even though there is still snow on the ground and our driveway is currently a sheet of ice, I’m getting excited for fresh spring flavors…
Cheers to new beginnings 🙂
Chicken Sausage, Escarole and White Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mild or hot chicken sausage casings removed
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 cup sliced button or cremini mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 14.5-ounce can white beans rinsed and drained
- 1 Parmesan rind optional
- 1/2 head escarole cleaned and chopped into large bite-sized pieces
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken sausage and cook, breaking up large pieces with a spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink and is just beginning to brown in spots. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the pot and cook until the vegetables have softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the sausage and any juices back to the pot. Pour in the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, and white beans. Add the Parmesan rind (if using). Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
Remove the Parmesan rind and discard. Add the escarole to the soup, cover, and simmer for a minute or two, just until wilted. Taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.