Warm Up With This Delicious Tuscan Bean and Spinach Soup
Makes about 10 cups (serves 6-8)
Ghee or another animal fat
Optional: 2 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced (I used at least 4 oz & nitrate free)
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used 5)
2 red peppers diced
2 cups crushed canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes in their juice
1 lb Italian sausage (nitrate free)
2 cups cooked beans cooking liquid reserved (I used canned cannelini)
3-4 cups chicken stock or water
5 oz spinach (or other greens)
Set a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of Ghee or animal fat. When the oil shimmers add the pancetta, if using, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until it just begins to brown.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaves. Season generously with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Dig a little hole in the center of the pot, then add another tablespoon of Ghee or animal fat. Add the garlic and let it sizzle gently until it gives off an aroma, about 30 seconds. Before the garlic has a chance to brown, add the tomatoes. Stir, taste, and add salt as needed. Enjoy!
Let the tomatoes simmer until they cook down to a jammy consistency, about 8 minutes, then add the beans and their cooking liquid and enough stock or water to cover. Stirring occasionally, bring the soup back to a simmer. Add the Italian sausage, spinach, and red pepper, adding more stock or water as needed to cover.
Cook until the flavors have come together, and the greens are tender, about 20 minutes more. Taste and adjust for salt. Add more liquid if you like a lighter soup. Remove the bay leaves.
Serve with grated Parmesan.
Adapted from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat