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porcini soup in bowl

Porcini, Cannellini and Sausage Stew


  • Author: Joe
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This soup is perfect for the cold days of winter and will serve about 4 people for a nice meal. Serve with a nice salad and some orange slices for dessert. You can easily increase the volume of this soup by adding more strained porcini soaking liquid, chicken stock and/or beans and their broth. Just be sure to cook a little while to incorporate and adjust the salt and pepper.


Ingredients

Scale
  • Cannellini beans, 2 15-oz cans – or – dry beans soaked and cooked (see Note 1)
  • 1 oz good quality dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 4 cups of boiling water.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound sweet Italian pork sausage
  • 1 small/medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces meaty mushrooms such as cremini or oyster, roots/stems trimmed and mushrooms sliced 
  • 1 big bunch of spinach, thick stems removed, cleaned in a water bath (see important Note 2 for cleaning spinach)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • A small bunch of herbs, tied with kitchen string,  such as a sprig of rosemary, several sprigs of thyme and/or a bay leaf
  • A Parmesan cheese rind
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Sliced and toasted rustic bread
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Whether using canned or dried beans soaked and cooked, separate the beans from the broth using a strainer. Reserve the bean broth.
  2. Place a medium-sized dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add the sausage and brown all over. Remove to a plate. The sausage will be undercooked inside – that’s ok!
  3. Add another 1 tbsp of olive oil to the dutch oven. When hot add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir and cover to let the onions sweat. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft. If they start to burn, lower the heat or add more olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more until you start to smell the garlic.
  4. Add the butter and the prepared sliced mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms are wilted. Then add the prepared spinach and cook until wilted.
  5. Lift the soaked porcini mushrooms out of the soaking liquid, leaving the grit behind. Add to the pot and stir. 
  6. Strain the porcini soaking liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel to remove the grit. Add ½ cup of the soaking liquid to the pot, reserving the rest. Also add the 1 ½ cup chicken broth to the pot. Add the parmesan rind to the pot. Also add the herb bundle.
  7. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a light boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook of about 30 minutes to bring all the flavors together. If needed, add more porcini broth and/or chicken broth.
  8. Slice the sausage into rounds and add to the pot. Remove the herbs. Add about 2 cups of the beans with about 1 cup of the bean broth. 
  9. Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 15 mins to bring everything together and finish cooking the sausage. Remove the parmesan rinds if you desire. Taste and adjust salt and add pepper as you like.
  10. Serve with some sliced and toasted rustic bread and some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Notes

  1. If you have access to good quality dried cannellini beans, soaking and cooking your own beans is a great way to make a batch of beans for use in lots of recipes. A 15-oz can of beans is about equivalent to ⅔-cup of dried beans.The night before cooking, rinse the dried beans and add to a medium sauce pot and cover with lots of water to soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and place back in the same pot. Cover with about 3-inches of fresh water and add some aromatics (such as ½ an onion, bay leaf or herbs like rosemary or thyme. Bring to boil and reduce to a low simmer. Check every 15 mins until the beans are tender (add more water if needed). Let cool to room temperature and pick out the aromatics. Place the beans and the liquid in a container and store in the fridge. They’re good for about a week. The bean liquid is great to thicken soups and stews.
  2. Fresh spinach is almost impossible to clean by rinsing it off. Instead, remove the unwanted stems and place in a very large bowl or your sink with the drain plug installed. Fill with cold water to float the spinach. Agitate the spinach letting the dirt and grit fall to the bottom of the bowl or sink. Lift the spinach out the water into a strainer. Empty bowl or sink, clean out the sand and repeat 2 more times.