simple sausage and bean soup

This was an "I-Just-Got-Back-From-Camping-And-Don't-Want-To-Go-Grocery-Shopping-So-I-Will-Clean-Out-My-Cupboards-Instead" creation.  (Boy, that was a mouthful, wasn't it?)

Basically, I just got back from camping and didn't want to go grocery shopping...  so, I cleaned out my cupboards instead (Oh wait...  You already figured that part out?  Sorry.) and came up with this delicious, hearty soup!

Beans, sausage, chicken broth...  onions, garlic, spices...  you can't really go wrong!  Fortunately it was chilly enough to be able to make soup in August.

(I'm obviously not living in the heat-wave-stricken majority of the US...  it's been downright fall-ish here in the Pacific Northwest!)

Sausage and Bean Soup Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound, or so, sausage links
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15oz) cans beans, drained, but not rinsed (whatever you'd like...  I used black and garbanzo!)
3-4 cups chicken stock (1 carton)
1 parmesan rind*
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Place your sausage links in the pan in a single layer and brown all over, turning when necessary.  Remove the sausages to a cutting board and set aside to cool for a bit.  (Note:  Don't worry about cooking the sausage here...  You are just browning it at this point.  It will cook in the soup later.)

Add the onions and carrots into the still hot oil.  Cook, stirring occasionally to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until soft.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Dump in the beans, chicken stock, parmesan rind and spices (leave the salt until the end, in case you don't need it!).  Cut the sausage links into bite-sized pieces and add those also.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for an hour or as long as you want...  until the sausage is cooked through and you are ready to eat!  (I let mine simmer a good 3 hours or more!)

Serve with crusty bread, or crackers!

*If you don't save your parmesan rinds, please do!  Throw them in the freezer and add them to your soups...  you will be so glad you did!!

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