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Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Italian Sausage

Serve this delicious, hearty soup with a crusty loaf of bread and you have a complete meal. Another family favourite from the Fine Cooking magazine.

1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (about 3 links)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 rib celery, finely diced

5 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

19 oz. can cannelloni or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 lb. kale, rinsed, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest.

Remove sausage from its casing and tear in by hand into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a 5 quart heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any fat in the pot.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium high and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften.

Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring until the garlic is fragrant about 1 minute more.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage along with any collected juices and half the beans.

Mash the remaining beans with a fork and add them to the pot, stirring to distribute.

Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 10 cups or 6 to 8 servings.

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