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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I had intended to make a lovely Italian inspired soup with the Nero di Tuscana kale from our garden, borlotti beans, Italian sausage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil and oregano. My weekly menu plans were on my mind as I did kitchen preparations. So, I pulled out the beans and set them to soak while thinking of what I needed to do for the rest of the week's cooking.

After the beans had been soaking for three of the four needed hours, I realized I'd grabbed the scarlet runner beans that I was planning on using Thursday, rather than the borlotti beans. Well, it was too late to switch gears and still have the soup, so I went with it. I'll use Christmas limas for Thursday's dinner.

I cooked a pound of Italian sausage in a little olive oil in my soup pot, added a couple chopped onions, 8 cloves of garlic, chopped up, and red pepper flakes and cooked it all until all the sausage was browned and the veggies were translucent. I added the drained beans and covered with water, tossed in some chopped kale and brought it to a boil. Turned the heat down, partially covered the pot and simmered it for a couple hours. Those scarlet runner beans sucked up a ton of water, and got huge. So, I added a bit more water and let it simmer a little longer. Toward the end, I put in two cans of organic diced tomatoes, oregano and basil and a little salt and let it simmer to blend the flavors.

We served it with half of a Beam's yellow pear tomato from our garden topping each bowl, good bread (my day was off, and I never made the rolls, so we had some whole wheat bread I'd made and put in the freezer that we toasted to sop up the broth) and fruit (so the fruit flies wouldn't get it all). It was delicious. Everyone ate it up, and nearly everyone got seconds with enough for lunch today. The beans tasted slightly smoky, and were nice and meaty. I will still try to make this with our borlotti beans one of these days, but this was a great, hearty dinner - filling, tasty and inexpensive.

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