Monday was still slushy and cold, and nothing seems to fit better on days like that, then a good soup to warm thing up! So, last night we enjoyed this soup that is hearty, healthy, and tasty!
We recently had our pig butchered, and so I am now stocked with pork- including a lot of sausage! So, sausage was a key ingredient in this soup. (See my note at the bottom of this post about a sausage caution!) Also included was whole grain brown rice, tender beans (great source of iron and fiber) that were cooked in the crock pot- not from a can (So easy!), and fresh chopped tomatoes. Chicken stock is used as the broth. I like to keep extra homemade chicken stock in the freezer for recipes like this. And then celery, onion, and garlic tie it all together with wonderful savory flavors- not to mention a lot of nutrition!
What a great way to have your comfort food and be healthy, too!
- 1 cup dry beans (I used a combination of pinto and white)
- Water (for the beans)
- 1 lb. ground sausage
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups prepared brown rice (I used my Baked Brown Rice)
- 4 cups chicken stock- (homemade, preferable!)
- 2 cups water
Early on in the day, start the beans.
Rinse them and add to a crock pot. Cover with water (I add enough water to cover them with several inches of water)
Sprinkle with plenty of kosher salt and ground pepper. (Sorry- i did not measure- oops! I would say approximately 2-3 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper)
Cook on high for about 6 hours- or on low for longer
Ahead of time, you also need to prepare rice. (or this would be a great way to use up left-over rice)
When you are ready to start the soup, begin by browning the sausage.
Add 1/3 cup water to the sausage as it browns so that it doesn’t burn.
While the sausage is browning, you can start preparing the veggies.
Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Then chop the tomato into small dices.
Chop the celery, onions, and garlic. You can combine all of this in a little bowl until you are ready to use it. (If I had a green pepper on hand- I would have included that, too!)
Now, once the sausage is browned all the way through, Drain and set aside.
Wipe some of the sausage drippings out of the pan and pour in 2 Tbs. olive oil.
Add the chopped veggies. Saute these for just a few minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently so the garlic does not burn.
Now sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour over the veggies. (this will help the broth to thicken a little)
Stir to fully incorporate the flour.
Pour in the 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Stir all of this (I use a whisk) until the flour mixtures dissolves into the liquid.
Add the sausage back in.
Add the beans- about 2 cups
Allow all of this to simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add in the (already-cooked) brown rice- between 1 1/2 and 2 cups. (Note: I don’t add the rice in until closer to the end, so that it does not absorb all my liquid)
Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
Allow to simmer for another few minutes.
We like to serve this with some freshly grated cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top. (use whatever cheese you like)
You will probably have some left-over rice and/or beans that you don’t need for the soup, so refrigerate them to use for lunch or another small meal!
**NOTE: I just wanted to make a note about sausage. Be careful when buying sausage in the grocery store. Did you know most of the sausage you can buy includes preservatives and flavorings like Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)- which can cause multiple symptoms- like headaches. It’s a controversial ingredient. (I need to do more research on it- but know that it is something I would rather avoid!) So- be careful to read the ingredients label. You can buy plain ground pork and learn how to season it yourself, or find some ‘clean’ sausage that you can buy.