White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

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This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

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White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

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2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

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Craft Brewed Onion Soup

The Addition of a good craft beer to this classic recipe adds another dimension of flavor which compliments the caramelized onion. An IPA or dark beer is better but you can use your favorite brew.

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Beer Onion Soup

Makes 4 servings

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6 cups Vidalia or sweet onions, sliced  

1 Tablespoon olive oil  

1 head caramelized garlic  

2 pints craft brewed IPA beer  

6 cups beef or vegetable broth  

1 teaspoon fresh thyme  

1 teaspoon fresh parsley  

pinch nutmeg  

4 large sour dough bread croutons  

4 slices of Gruyere cheese  

1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese 

Preheat a soup pot. 

Add olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook onions until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add beer and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add broth, thyme, parsley and nutmeg. Simmer for 45 minutes. 

Place sourdough croutons in 4 bowls. Add soup to each bowl. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a slice of Gruyere. Broil for 2 minutes or until cheese melts and is slightly browned. 

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