Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup and new LIGHTER Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup

I've had this image of the perfect winter soup floating around my head over the last few weeks. It was hearty, like a stew, but I needed a change from chicken and beef. I imagined thick chewy gnocci floating on the surface.
So this weekend I started scrounging through the pantry and the vegetable drawer to see what we had to work with. Gnocchi was out, but I will come back to this next time - I still believe gnocchi would be superb in this. If you have some, please sub it in and let me know what you think. :)



Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup

A joyfulfoodie original


Servings: 5. Serving size: approx. 1 cup. WWP+: 13 (as is) - see below for lighter option.

Ingredients

3 cups broth (I used chicken stock from my last crockpot chicken)
2 (ish) cups water (as needed to adjust volume and flavor, depending on strength of stock)
8 oz mushrooms, quartered or smaller
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato paste
4-6 cups torn kale (large bite size pieces)
2 local hot* italian sausages (more as desired) **
2 cups dry couscous

a few shakes each:
garlic powder (or 2 minced garlic cloves)
onion powder
dried or fresh parsley
rosemary


Directions

Heat the stock (and some water, as needed) on the stove. While it is coming up to temp, add white beans, mushrooms, tomato paste, and spices. Cook for 5 (ish) minutes while you prep kale (if not done yet).
Slice sausages into bite size pieces (I cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then cut 1/2 inch slices).
Add sausages and kale to the soup. Cook another 5ish minutes.
Add couscous. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until couscous is soft. (I was using a blend - one of the grains didn't soften until almost 20 minutes, couscous was probably fine by 10-12 minutes.)


Serve with wine, if desired. I loved it with Lazy Bones red wine from Trader Joe's.





*If you don't have hot italian sausage, use whatever kind of sausage strikes your fancy. Consider adding a few shakes of red pepper flakes... the heat in the soup adds a nice dimension to the broth.

** I am in love with all things Nooherooka Natural. They have the best sausages, hot dogs, stew beef, bacon.... we pretty much only buy our meat from this local farm. We discovered them at the farmer's market. Switching over to local meat has been awesome - we find the quality to be immensely better, and it is awesome knowing we are voting for fair animal treatment with our dollars. If you have access to a farmer's market I strongly suggest you seek out the meat people and develop a relationship with them. It has balanced price wise because we eat less meat when we have to plan it all out ahead of time like this! :)



EDIT:
As I've gone back to unofficially doing weight watchers, I'm working to health-ify some of my recipes. Here is the soup lightened up a bit - still super yummy, but a great option if you want to push a few extra veggies!

Lighter Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup

A joyfulfoodie original

Servings: 5. Serving size: 1 cup. WWP+: 10 with regular italian sausage, 9 points or less depending on type of chicken sausage.

Ingredients

3 cups broth (I used chicken stock from my last crockpot chicken)
3 (ish) cups water (as needed to adjust volume and flavor, depending on strength of stock). Add bouillon if you push too much water.
16 oz mushrooms, quartered or smaller
1 cup of canned white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups torn kale (large bite size pieces)
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1 diced fresh tomato
2 chicken or turkey sausages, italian style
1 cup dry couscous

a few shakes each:
garlic powder (or 2 minced garlic cloves)
onion powder
dried or fresh parsley
rosemary


Directions

Heat the stock (and some water, as needed) on the stove. While it is coming up to temp, add white beans, mushrooms, tomato paste, butternut squash, tomato, and spices. Cook for 5 (ish) minutes while you prep kale (if not done yet).
Slice sausages into bite size pieces (I cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then cut 1/2 inch slices).
Add sausages and kale to the soup. Cook another 5ish minutes.
Add couscous. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until couscous is soft. (I was using a blend - one of the grains didn't soften until almost 20 minutes, couscous was probably fine by 10-12 minutes.)











Your turn! What are you cooking to stay warm this winter?

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