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Smoky Red Bean and Sausage Soup

Serves 4 to 6

This bean soup is based on my mother's White Bean and Ham Soup, a family favorite that is in the similar and related recipes. Actually, I had planned to make that one day and when I went to the cupboard to get the great northern beans, there were none. I did find dried red kidney beans, so I just made a few changes to the recipe and what resulted is totally different and equally delicious. Like Mom's soup, this takes some time to cook, but it is easy and can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three days, adding a little water if needed when reheating.


Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add water to cover by 2-inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain completely.

Return beans to pot. Add broth, water, sausage and the next 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add to soup after the 1-1/2 hours. Continue to simmer, covered, for an additional hour or until the beans are tender. Skim fat off top if needed. Remove the bay leaf. Taste for additional seasonings. Serve immediately or keep warm on a very low burner.

Notes: I did not list salt as an ingredient in this recipe. Depending on the saltiness of the sausage and broth, it might not be needed. Add some only if you determine it needs it after tasting.