Submitted by: Marlys and Glenn
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Servings: 4 to 6
It's winter in Minnesota, and that's soup time. This recipe makes a very traditional navy bean soup, very hearty but quite easy to make. It just takes a long time if you are starting with dry beans. Of course, you could substitute canned navy beans (2-3 cans), which would shorten the cooking time considerably.
2 cups dried navy beans
5 to 8 cups chicken stock (or substitute canned chicken broth)
1 large bay leaf
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup olive oil
1½ cups coarsely chopped onion
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
¼ large green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 to 1¼ pounds hot Italian sausages in casings (recipe actually calls for pork sausages)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup dry red wine
Pick over beans and soak overnight, or use the quick-soak method (cover beans with 1 inch of water and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 2 minutes and turn off heat. Allow to sit, covered, for 1 hour).
Drain and put beans, 3 cups stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, simmering as necessary, until beans begin to get tender and fall apart, 1½ to 2 hours (or more). Add another 2 cups of stock, or to taste, if soup has reduced too much at the end of the cooking time.
Meanwhile, place olive oil in a large skillet and sauté onion, celery, carrots, and bell pepper until they start to brown. Scrape into a food processor and puree. Reserve this puree and add to the beans for the last 30 minutes of their cooking time.
Place sausages in a cold skillet and cook over high heat for 6 minutes, turning often. Pour off the fat. Add garlic and red wine. Simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes. Cut sausages into rounds and add to the soup. Deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water or stock, then add to soup. Add more stock if necessary. Serve warm.
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