Thursday, November 3, 2011

Turkey Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup with Cornbread Biscotti

Have you ever seen the episode of Little house on the Prairie where Laura runs away to the mountains after her baby brother dies, and there she meets Jonathon, the mystery man/angel/God person, and then Pa comes looking for her, but she doesn't want him to find her because God hasn't answered her prayer yet which was for her to go to heaven and trade places with her baby brother because she thinks Pa would rather have had a son, but then Jonathon grabs her by the shoulders and says "Child, God HAS answered your prayer and He says your pa needs you and that is why your pa came looking for you?"

Huh?  Have you seen that one?

Because I just finished watching that episode a few minutes ago and it sent me straight into a gasping-for-breath ugly cry.  I am SO glad my husband left just before my meltdown.  It was not attractive in the least.

And just as a warning to women everywhere, that episode called "The Lord is my Shepherd" is probably not the best one to watch if your body is in any kind of heightened state of hormonal activity.

Did Micheal Landon know how to bring on a sob or what?  He is the *best* crier ever in the history of television.

Alright.  Enough with this emotional roller coaster I've been on the last fifteen minutes.  Let me clear my mind and talk about soup.  Because this one is really good.

In the October issue of Southern Living, they ran a soup recipe along with a recipe for Cornbread Biscotti.  Their soup recipe is very similar to mine (Or is it that mine is very similar to theirs?) but my soup is a little different with some marinara and orzo stirred in.  And I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, most soup gets better the longer it sets.  This soup is better the next day, so it's the perfect make ahead meal.

What really caught my eye, though, was that cornbread biscotti recipe. What a brilliant idea!  I just had to try it and I'm so glad I did.  The crunchy biscotti soaks up the soup and it's just wonderful.  LOVED!  Such a nice change from regular cornbread.

Here are my notes about the cornbread biscotti:

-After many years of having bad luck with every food processor I've ever owned, I am without one again. Until the money comes through for a Cuisinart, I'll just remain food processor-less, because I will not fork over any more money on anything else cheap.  The original recipe is written using one, so I rewrote the directions to mix by hand.

-I also halved the original recipe with some slight tweaks, because I wasn't sure I would get good results without using a food processor, but I did.  So mine is a small batch and it gave me about 8-10 biscotti.

-I can't tell you how much I loved the fresh rosemary in them.  It really made them pop.  I grow my own, but I'm sure dried would be good too.

-I did use parchment paper like the original recipe called for.  I think that's important because it keeps the dough from spreading too much and allows an easy transfer to a cutting board.

-The batter was thick, but wet.  I was afraid it was too wet, but it wasn't. 

My soup notes:

-I prefer cannellini, but I used Great Northern because I can't get the cannellini beans here.

-One more time--the soup gets better tasting the longer it sets.  Have you got that yet?

-I cook the sausages whole, then slice. An alternative would be to squeeze the sausage out of the casings and crumble as you cook.

-Add the spinach to the hot soup as the very last step.  It will immediately wilt and you no longer need to cook it.  Kale would be great too.

-I always cook my pasta separately because it tends to swell too much in the soup.  I store them separately in the fridge too, and add my pasta to each bowl of soup individually.

-Yes, you could use canned chicken broth or stock, I just always have bouillon cubes.  I read an article about ten years ago that said canned chicken broth is 5 times costlier than making broth with bouillon cubes, and that has always stuck with me.

-I love this soup because it's quick, easy and pretty darn healthy.  Did I mention yummy too?  Because it totally is.

Turkey Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (16-ounce) package turkey Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed 
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
1 cup orzo pasta

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and cook until brown on all sides and cooked all the way through.  Remove to cutting board and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Add the onion to Dutch oven and cook until soft, stirring often and scraping brown bits off bottom.  Add garlic and cook for two more minutes.  Add water, bouillon cubes, marinara sauce, sausage, and cannellini beans.  Bring to a simmer and let cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in spinach and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package direction.  Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep from sticking.

To serve, spoon orzo into each bowl, then ladle soup over pasta.  

Cornbread Biscotti  (Small Batch)

(Adapted from Southern Living)

1 (6-ounce) package yellow cornbread mix
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, divided
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cornbread mix, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, pepper and rosemary in a medium bowl.   Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Whisk together 1 egg and buttermilk. Stir into cornbread mixture until batter mixed.  (Batter will be thick, but wet.)

Spread dough into approximately a 6 x 4-inch rectangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet using lightly greased hands. Lightly beat remaining egg; brush over dough. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at for 20 minutes or until pale golden brown and firm. Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Gently slide loaf onto a cutting board, and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices using a serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, back onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on each side or until golden and crisp. Let cool on baking sheet on wire rack 15 minutes. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days, or freeze up to 2 weeks.

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  1. Lorie, I really love the idea of the cornbread biscotti. Now you've got me


  2. Just beautiful altogether! The bread, the sausage!

  3. Hey....the recipe calls for 12 cans of beans....I am so sure you meant 1 - 2 cans???? It looks fabulous...can't wait to try it!

  4. Anonymous-YES, thank you so much for pointing that out! It's actually two cans and I have changed it. Thank you for being nice.:)

  5. Thank-you for your wonderful inspirational blog- just what i needed today. Soup was great!