I've never been much for waiting. Whether it's standing in line or waiting for dough to rise, waiting is just not my strong suit. I'm that girl who is always peaking in the oven to see how my cookies are coming along. Sometimes this bodes well for me because I can get my butt in gear and just get it done. Still, I'd like to work on that whole patience thing. Being a parent helps. You don't really have a choice once that role is part of your life.
When we lived in Japan, I used to get so frustrated that we couldn't paint or hang anything on our walls. All I wanted to do was hang some photos and paintings but withe tissue paper thin covering on the walls it wasn't possible. Plus, we would certainly be charged an arm and a leg for puncturing even one hole. Now that we own our house, I'm loving/hating the fact that we can change things whenever we want. I love it because it's fun. I hate it because it takes so much time. I've been working on painting our office for a few weeks. It isn't a particularly large room; in fact, it is quite small. For some reason (possibly something to do with a toddler, dog, blog, etc) I just haven't been able to find the time to devote to getting it done. I did some taping here and there, then some priming bit by bit, and yesterday I wanted to really make a dent; just get it done already! Of course, as it goes with most carefully laid plans, nothing went the way I expected. Let's just say it's amazing how much Riley's nap time (or lack thereof) impacts my entire day. So there's that, plus what I think might be the beginning of the terrible twos, that had me wondering what I was thinking trying to paint a room in the first place.
Fortunately, this soup saved me when it came to getting dinner on the table. It required some waiting but the wait was more than worth it.
The slow cooker did most of the heavy lifting. I still had to do the dishes.
This recipe makes a large batch of soup, enough for 6-8 people, but it is easy to freeze the extra. One of my favorite things about recipes like this is their versatility. For example, you can swap the chard for spinach or kale. Or you can switch out the chicken and apple sausage for something spicier like Italian or andouille.
If you have 10 minutes to throw this in the slow cooker in the morning you have plenty of time to get dinner ready. I know dried beans can be intimidating to some, but in this recipe they are a non-negotiable. If you use canned beans, they will overcook and become mush. Dried beans cook perfectly and maintain a nice texture and have much more flavor. I often have a bag of dried white beans in the pantry and this is one of my favorite ways to use them up.
I'm looking forward to making more variations of this soup so that I have something healthy and comforting to feed my family even on the days when I'm not sure how to get it all done.
*Note: You can make this a vegetarian soup by omitting the sausage and using vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup with Sausage + Chard
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-8 hours
Yield: 6-8 Servings
- 2 links chicken & apple sausage (or other sausage)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb dried white beans (navy or cannellini)
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 4 cups chard, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the sausage links in half lengthwise, then in half moons.
- Put the sausage, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves and beans in the slow cooker.
- Add the chicken stock and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours until the beans are tender and cooked through.
- 30 minutes before serving, add the Parmesan rind (if using) to the soup.
- 10 minutes before serving, add the chard to the soup.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.