Smoky Turkey Sausage, Kale, and Cannellini Bean Soup

I always thought of Arizona as a state in constant heat, until I moved here. Our family had vacationed here multiple times, mainly during the spring and summer months. We had never really experienced how cold the Phoenix area can actually get during the winter.

We moved to Scottsdale in the middle of August 2017 which was sweltering hot. There were some days it was 105 degrees! I got so used to the heat that now when the temperatures are below 70 degrees I grab a jacket. Though lately, the temperatures have been in the 50's, and the 50's feel like the 30's to me. When you are used to the weather being very hot most of the time the days that are cooler feel colder than they really are.

So, chillier temps require comforting foods, right? With a package of smoked turkey sausage in my fridge, and the need for a hot meal to feel like a blanket wrapped around me, I came up with this hearty soup. It is absolutely delicious!

Baby Bella mushrooms, carrots, lacinato kale, and leeks.

Bouquet Garni

I love the smoky flavor from the turkey sausage.

Smoky Turkey Sausage, Kale, and Cannellini Bean Soup

1 package smoked turkey sausage, quartered, then sliced (such as Jennie-O or Hillshire Farm)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 leek, white part only, quartered, chopped, rinsed
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 8 oz package Baby Bella mushrooms, diced
1 32 oz vegetable broth, or more if needed
1 bouquet garni - 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 bay leaves, several peppercorns, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with butchers twine.
Kosher salt

(If using the All-Clad slow cooker with browning insert, use the "brown" feature set to 350 degrees and brown turkey sausage and sauté vegetables. I used about a tablespoon of olive oil.)

On medium-high heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and brown turkey sausage in slow cooker insert or in a pan, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove sausage from insert or pan. Add garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add leeks and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots, mushrooms, and kale. Season with Kosher salt to your taste. Cook until kale is wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add turkey sausage into the slow cooker, pour in vegetable stock, and toss in bouquet garni. Stir to combine everything. Set slow cooker on high and cook for two hours. When there is 45 min remaining, add the cannellini beans. If the soup isn't liquidy enough for your liking, then just add a little more vegetable broth. I did not add any additional broth.


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