Santa Barbara is bipolar.
There, I said it. Sorry American Riviera, but you need to hear it. We who love you and live here over all other places do so because you are reliable. 75 degrees and mostly sunny year round. Light ocean breezes. Little rain.
So what the heck happened to you in the last 72 hours?! Three days ago you hit us with a monsoon and flash flooding. Day after that it blizzards [yes, that is the term the local news used]. We have a tornado warning. It's frickin' COLD and WET. And then yesterday it's all sunshine and clear blue skies like nothing ever happened.
WTF?! [for lack of a better acronym] You must be bipolar. That is the only explanation. That and global warming. I'm going with bipolar.
None the less, thank you for making it so miserable and cold outside that I was prompted to cook up a warm and nourishing soup to chase the cold from our not-so-well insulated apartment.
Sounds awful doesn't it?
Well it wasn't. It was absolutely wonderful. One of my best soups yet.
tuscan bean and sausage soup
1 cup dry navy beans, soaked overnight
3 mild Italian sausage links, removed from casings
1 large or 2 small bunches tender kale
2 leeks, white parts trimmed and finely chopped
1 medium sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, diced
6 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
6 cups spring water or homemade chicken stock
2-3 bay leaves
beef fat, butter, ghee or other heat stable fat
If needed, add more fat to the pot and fry the onions and leeks until translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat if needed to avoid burning. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
Add the beans, bay leaves, and water/stock. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt, cover and raise the heat until soup begins to boil. Reduce immediately to a simmer and continue to cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until beans are tender.
When the beans are tender, remove from heat, stir in the kale and cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Serve hot alone or with crusty bread smeared with pasture butter.