Red Bean and Sausage Soup

PREP TIME: 2½ Hours

COMMENT: Red beans and rice are Louisiana's Monday dish. Here, we have taken this recipe and made it into a hearty soup that can be used as a starter or an entrée. We have left in the great smoky flavor found in red beans by using turkey sausage and tasso in place of fat-filled pork products.

1 cup dried red kidney beans
¼ pound Butterball fat free turkey smoked sausage, sliced
¼ cup Chef John Folse's smoked turkey tasso, diced
9 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cider vinegar
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a 1-gallon heavy-bottom pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. When the beans are very soft and tender, you may purée some of the beans in a blender or food processor and return them to the soup for a thicker consistency. You may use white or black beans in the place of the red beans for an easy variation to this dish.

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