Having ordered Andouille Sausage from D’Artagnan for my Shrimp & Grits, I found myself on their mailing list, and as luck would have it, received an e-mail about Merguez Sausage. I had sampled these spicy and delicious lamb sausages at a wine tasting some time ago, but had forgotten all about them. So, I ordered a few pounds with which to experiment.
Thinking about what to do with them, beans first came to mind. Franks (they are sausages of course) and beans are a natural combination, and lamb and beans are a happy couple – Braised Lamb Shanks with White beans. Thinking about what else would go well with lamb, I thought of Gosht Palak, which is a great Indian dish consisting of lamb and spinach. So, I thought, why not put them all together…in a soup!
Of course I’d need a liquid base and some color, and perhaps a few flavor enhancers in addition to the Merguez. Tomatoes sautéed in garlic and oil would enhance almost any soup, as would some white wine and fresh rosemary, the latter of which compliments lamb very nicely. And for the liquid, the all-purpose chicken stock. Finally, for added spice, if necessary, Hot Hungarian Paprika. All of the ingredients were either in the fridge or the pantry, so it was a go.
Everything moved smoothly until I got to the spinach point. I had planned to use some frozen chopped spinach, but alas, there was none to be had. However, I did find a bunch of arugula that was still fresh, so opted to go with that rather than run out to the market.
Preparation time: overnight soaking of beans; active-40 minutes; unattended- 2 hours.
Makes enough for 8 people as a complete meal, (leftovers can be frozen for additional meals) or more as a first course.
1 lb. dried Cannellini Beans, soaked overnight
2 & 1/4 lbs. Merguez Sausage
1 lb. Grape Tomatoes halved.
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup + 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb. spinach, or substitute with 1 small bunch of arugula
1 qt. Low–sodium chicken stock.
6 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped fine, about 1 Tbsp.
1. In a five quart pot, heat the 6 Tbsp. of olive oil and lightly sauté the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium high heat until, they give up their juices, about 6 minutes.
3. Add the 1 cup wine, bring to boil and reduce by half.
4. Stir in the beans and mix well.
5. Add chicken stock and bring to boil.
6. Add the spinach or arugula, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
7. In the meantime in a heavy skillet, lightly brown the sausage in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then slice each sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Add sausage slices to the bean soup.
9. Deglaze the skillet with the 1/4 cup wine and add to soup.
10. Add chopped rosemary.
11. After 2 hours remove two cups of beans, place in food processor, process and return to pot.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- If the soup is not spicy enough for your liking, consider adding some Hot Hungarian Paprika at the table.