North Woods Bean Soup

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been cooking much.  I felt like I had to break the takeout cycle for at least the beginning of this week, though, since we’re about to have an indulgent weekend in honor of Dr. O’s birthday.  When I went back into the kitchen on Monday night, I had several recipe requirements: easy, tasty, fast, preferably healthy.  It certainly hasn’t been soup weather in Denver lately (it was 74° on Monday!), but I had a soup recipe that fit the bill perfectly: North Woods Bean Soup from the January 2002 issue of Cooking Light.  I first made it last winter, and the fact that I could easily recall how delicious it was made it worthy of a repeat.  Here’s the recipe:

North Woods Bean Soup
Makes five 1 1/2-cup servings

Cooking spray
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and kielbasa; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return the puréed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

North Woods Bean Soup

This soup is so good.  It has so many of my favorite ingredients – turkey kielbasa, carrots, fresh spinach – and puréeing part of the soup makes it seem rich and hearty (instead of super healthy).  This is another recipe where I need to go several rounds with the salt and pepper to get the taste I want (Cooking Light recipes are never salty enough for me!), but the extra effort is worth it.  I’m not asking for cooler weather, but if it comes, I’ll just use it as an excuse to make another batch of this soup.

TIPS: This probably has more to do with the size of my carrot pieces than it has to do with the lower boiling temperature of water at high altitude, but I had to extend my initial simmering time (immediately after the broth was added) to 8 minutes instead of 5 minutes to adequately cook the carrots.  I figured they wouldn’t purée very well if they were too firm.

Recipe link: North Woods Bean Soup

5 Responses to “North Woods Bean Soup”

  1. 1 Barbara | VinoLuciStyle March 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I was just telling some friends on Twitter how ‘diverse’ our spring weather can be. 70’s one day can turn into a blizzard the next (which we sort of need even if we don’t want). So, right now as I sit in my kitchen working with my feet needing socks and a definite chill in the air..I wish I had some of this soup ready for lunch!

    We’ll miss you Saturday but have a great weekend.

  2. 2 jfochek March 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Weather-wise, we do live in Crazytown, don’t we? There’s nothing like grilling on the warm days and slow-cooking on the cold ones, though… It’s a good excuse for variety in the kitchen.

    Hope you all have a great meeting on Saturday! I’ll have to start coming up with something tasty for April.

  3. 3 Sara @ Saucy Dipper March 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’m such a sucker for soup. After recently making a potato soup for St. Paddy’s day, I want to make more. MORE! Soup makes for an easy, filling, tasty meal.

    Hope to meet you at the Front Range Food Bloggers meetup soon!

    • 4 jfochek March 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Definitely! I’m sorry to have to miss this month’s meeting, but perhaps our paths will cross in April. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. 5 Stephanie March 31, 2011 at 1:06 am

    This soup looks really good, I love the flavor combos. I’ve never been disappointed with a Cooking Light recipe. And who says it has to be winter weather to eat soup, anyway?

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