Tomato, White Bean, Sausage Soup with Kale

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

1 large carrot chopped

2 sticks celery, chopped (optional)

4 large garlic cloves minced

48 ounces cooked, skinned, squeezed tomatoes (can also use canned tomatoes)

4 cups cooked white beans

32 ounces water or chicken broth

4 cups chopped kale

1 lb. chopped cooked sausage (optional)

A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, oregano and thyme, and a cheese rind (this is optional-I used pecorino cheese rind-adds lots of flavor)

PREPARATION:

Heat olive oil in soup pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt.  Cook until veggies are tender, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, cooked sausage, broth and bouquet garni.

Cover and simmer about 20-30.  Add the cooked beans and heat through for 5 minutes.

Add the kale, cover and simmer another 10 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

This soup is an amazing burst of flavor day one but tastes even better on the second day.