Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to a gusty, rainy, cold morning outside my front door. What the heck happened, Mother Nature? Seriously, we were at the park and wearing shorts just the day before. On Monday afternoon, while my kids were playing, I was sitting on a park bench with rolled up sleeves trying to catch some rays on my face and arms. Monday afternoon was sun-drenched, cloudless, 66° and perfect.
Not too long after we were surprised by the drastic weather change on Tuesday morning, I ushered my oldest off to school. When I got home, I finally checked the forecast. It read: “overcast, breezy and cooler with occasional rain”. That would have been nice to know before we had to scramble away from the front door, desperately looking for the one, elusive umbrella we own.
Texas weather has a steady history of being fickle and everyone who’s grown up here is familiar with this phrase: “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait a minute!”. It seems that that old saying is more relevant than ever so far in 2016. I’m slowly accepting that I need to check the news before I even attempt to put on shoes each morning this winter.
Anyhoo, such a blustery, wet, chilly morning turned into the same sort of afternoon, but with an even stronger downpour of steady rain. This dismal turn of events outdoors required some hot soup or chowder for lunch instead of the cold, green salad I had planned on. So, with an open mind and my fingers crossed I went on the search for ingredients in my own kitchen. There was no way was I heading out to the store in all that nastiness. Not for anything.
Lately, I’ve had a pretty good run with throwing together some decent dishes with what’s stocked in my kitchen. I’m happy to report that yesterday was no different. I put together this hearty soup, on the fly, with some items I had on-hand. My search started in the freezer where I found a package of smoked sausage. I defrosted the sausage and then grabbed cans of pinto beans, broth, fire-roasted tomatoes and a potato from the pantry. Next, I brought out some fresh vegetables and herbs from the fridge crisper bin. And, lastly, I decided on one of my favorite dried spices, thyme.
These were some pretty random foods that, after some thought, seemed like they could work together and they absolutely did. The amazing, smoky flavor from the sausage infused into the whole dish and it was well-complimented by the flavorful, fire-roasted tomatoes and mild leeks. The other vegetables added balance and a little texture.
I enjoyed this with some toasted, whole-grain bread slices and I couldn’t think of another thing this soup needed (except for maybe the flavor of a red or green bell pepper, but I didn’t have any available so we’re not going to talk about that, okay?). Believe me, for as often as I try, not every cooking or baking experiment is hit. I make plenty of mistakes too, but this recipe is definitely a keeper.
I sure love it when things work out.
Smoked Sausage and Pinto Bean Stew printable recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 small leek, rinsed and thinly sliced (use a little bit of the green)
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 pepper
- 1/2 -3/4 lb smoked sausage, links halved and sliced (I used Eckrich brand as I had it on hand)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (15 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
3. Add in the pinto beans and continue to simmer, if necessary, until all the other vegetables are tender. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.