Monday, November 1, 2010

Cajun White Bean And Ditalini Soup With Kale

Hows that for a long soup name.  Several years ago we got the recipe for White Bean And Ditalini Soup from my aunt and have made it several times since then. Bev eats most things, but is not a fan of greens, although she appreciates their positive health benefits.  So we began adding them to this soup where their flavor is very muted - we like to use loaded-with-good-things kale.

A while back Mary, at Deep Dish South, posted a recipe for Cajun White Beans over rice and I decided marrying these two recipes would have to work well. I basically used her recipe, but replaced the rice with ditalini, used canned beans, added some kale, and made it a soup. So here is the final recipe.

48 oz great northern beans, canned (any white bean will work)
1 quart chicken stock (add more if you like yours soupier)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound andouille (we used Richards that we bought in NOLA)
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 a bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama
1 tsp Emeril’s Essence kicked up with some cayenne
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper (I salted the veggies and needed no more)
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta (1 cup dry) (add more or less to suit you)
1 bunch kale, washed, large ribs removed, and chopped (you decide how much)
Hot sauce, for the table

Here’s the first stuff ready to go.

Add the chicken stock and canned beans with their liquid to your soup pot over medium heat. Heat canola in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Quarter and slice sausage into small bite sized pieces, add to hot oil and cook until browned. Here it is cooking on the grill side burner.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the stockpot with the beans. To the drippings in the skillet, add the bacon and cook until rendered. Remove the bacon, set aside, and add the onion, bell pepper and celery to the skillet.

Cook until just browned and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Transfer veggies to the beans and sausage; add the cooked bacon. Deglaze the skillet with a bit of broth and scrape up any browned bits. Add that to the bean pot and simmer about 30 minutes.  (I must have began with too much oil as I still had lots of it left and nothing stuck to the skillet to be deglazed, so I omitted this step and just removed everything with a slotted spoon).

Meanwhile cook the ditaini to barely al dente and at the end of the 30 minute soup simmer, add it along with the kale and other remaining ingredients and simmer another 10 minutes. I usually sauté the kale to wilt it, but loose some of the nutrients this way. I considering adding it raw to the soup, but didn’t want to risk it turning green, so I decided to try a compromise. I steamed it over the pasta while it was cooking thinking it would wilt without loosing as many goodies as boiling or sautéing and minimize the chance of green soup – some risk of green pasta though. This worked perfectly as the kale got wilted and nothing turned green, except a slight tinge to the pasta water. Here it is just after adding the kale and pasta to the soup.

Here's the finished product in the pot and in my bowl.

Bev was concerned about the andouille (we had some previously we didn’t care for) and using the entire bunch of kale, but she gave me an A+ for the dish and we all loved it - this is company soup.  The two tsps of spice gave it a lot of flavor so the one thing you may want to do is add 1/2 tsp of each to start and more later after tasting - it was just right for us.

Thanks Mary for the dish to begin the process with.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Wow! That looks awesome Larry!! Great step by step too. I try to sneak greens in on The Cajun - that's about the only way the man will touch them. Can't wait to try this soup. Thanks for the shout out and hope that you have a wonderful week!!

  2. Oh boy, I love the "cook it all in one pot" kind of dish. This is a great way to add some greens to a diet.

  3. Yum. I love kale in soup. This looks hearty, filling, and so flavorful!

  4. I love ditalini in soup, and while I don't like kale alone, it makes a great ingredient. Company soup, indeed!

  5. Looks wonderful---and if our temps go down this coming Thurs/Fri like they say they will, that would be a fabulous meal on a cold day.... They are even saying we could have some flurries (probably in the Smokies).

  6. This soup does look company worthy, Larry! We'll be over shortly, ha ha.

    I have to get some more ditalini because now that I see this recipe, it makes me realize they are perfect for soup.

  7. I never think of using that pasta for soup - only salads. What a great idea! Love the combination of ingredients on this dish, too!

  8. Looks and sounds wonderful Larry, you know me, I'm a big soup fan. I've never used that shape of pasta.


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