Friday, November 04, 2011

White Bean Soup with Andouille and Kale

This past weekend I experienced several firsts -- my first ever New York snowfall (not the brown slush I have encountered on previous trips post-snowfall); my first October snowfall (I didn’t even know snow existed before Christmas time), and my first New York Halloween.
I learned several things with which I will now enlighten you:

1) The weathermen up here are legit. If they say it is going to snow in October, then it is going to snow in October. Even if a borderline for the snowfall is mentioned (as in “we may be on the line for some snowfall”) that should be understood as “get ready for three inches of snow.” If only they were this good with hurricane strength predictions. 

2) Evidently there are different types of snow. In NC, when a forecaster mentioned snow, I would immediately stop listening and stare at the sky in anticipation of the appearance of any white substance. It is so abundant up here that they categorize. This one was classified as ‘big and wet’ which I was excited about because I was expecting dog-like kisses falling on my head. Which leads me to my third realization . . . 

3) It is perfectly acceptable to use your umbrella in a snow storm. I went out without one in order to get the full effect of the dog-like kisses and instead, returned a drenched mess. Note to self - see realization #1 about the validity of weathermen. Big and wet means big and wet. I will take my umbrella next time. 

4) Halloween in NYC is still awesome with street-organized trick or treat routes of which you can opt in or out (Sadly we had none since they politely told us we were not needed after hearing we were on the 5th floor --I thought kids needed to be more active these days!) and various monsters/princesses/etc. riding on the subway as they head to various Halloween parties. Good luck determining if those green and red striped tights with the red heels on the 20-something next to you are part of a Halloween costume or just part of their Monday attire.  

5) Shops give out candy! Kids go from the deli to the food stand guy to the pet store to pick up candy. I got a mini-Snickers bar from my cleaners! I would have preferred a 40% discount but I’ll take what I can get. 

6) Evidently Halloween is one of my husband’s favorite holidays (I never thought to ask him this fact) and my plan to stay in and watch Twilight together was grudgingly accepted. So next year we are dressing up as Wall Street protesters and hitting the Village. I promise.

And so, with snow making its appearance before November, I am ready to hunker down for some winter cooking. Starting with this soup. I am SO glad I said ‘yes’ to packing my crock pot even though it is kept five feet above my head in our overhead closets and therefore a bear to get down and put back up because, even with the storage hassle, this soup was delicious and enough for the two of us to eat off of for a week - very handy for the inevitable snowfall that will make us want to stay in our (well-)heated apartment snuggling with Newt. 

Happy (snow!) Fall!
White Bean Soup with Andouille and Kale
From Real Simple

1 pound dried white beans (I used cannellini)
1/2 pound andouille sausage links, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme or another appropriate herb (I used sage because they share a song lyric)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves cut into bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

In a 4 - 6 quarter slow cooker, combine the beans, sausage, onion, celery and herbs. Add the brother and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours until the beans are tender. Twenty minutes before serving, discard the stems from your fresh herbs and add the kale. Cover and cook until the greens are tender for another 15 to 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each).

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