too chilly out so let's make soup

I've been thinking I have all these great cold weather meals to share and it's too nice outside to make them and then the crazy winds yesterday blew in a chilly front giving me another chance to make soup. Tonight the Greyhounds traveled to Noblesville for a contentious match up, so earlier this afternoon I fixed a yummy soup from Fine Cooking.
Let me first take a moment and mention how much I enjoy Fine Cooking magazine. What they do really well is provide a base recipe and all the options to suit your tastes or ingredients. You can always find Fine Cooking or one of it's special issues (which generally draw from it's regular issues) on the magazine stand at Costco. Seriously, do you think Cosctco should sponsor my blog? A little note before you try to circumvent buying an issue and or subscribing, you can only fully access their recipes online if you are a member and pay an annual fee of $9.95. I do pay the fee because it is way easier to look a recipe up online, see which issue it was from (the issues are numbered) and then grab that issue and put it in the cookbook stand.
I digress, the recipe of the day is Sausages & White Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Thyme & Crisp Breadcrumbs. I tweak it just a bit, using panko instead of fresh breadcrumbs and using two cans of tomatoes (instead of one) and two cans of beans (instead of three). Panko breadcrumbs need to be in your pantry. You can find them in the Japanese cooking section of the grocery in a bag (at Meijer) or a box (Trader Joe's). They are big and flaky and just plain delicious. If you are going to make fresh breadcrumbs take stale or old bread (best with baguettes or an artisan bread) and put them in your food processor to pulse into crumbs. Whatever you do, do not use those boring crumbs that come in the cylindrical container. Sara and I are addicted to Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes in all of their varieties. Use them here and everywhere. Worth every penny. Rich tomato flavor, smokey and oh so good.

Sausages & White Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Thyme & Crisp Breadcrumbs

serves 6

1 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
2 T fresh thyme leaves
2 T extra virgin olive oil
9 sweet Italian sausages (I use turkey Italian sausages)
1 medium onion, chopped into medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and then you can have a glass)
Two 14.5-oz. cans petit diced tomatoes
Two 15.5-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 C chicken broth (go ahead, buy the case of organic free-range broth in the boxes at Costco, you will use them)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, melt the butter and toss in the breadcrumbs and 1 T of the thyme over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the crumbs are golden about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Wipe out skillet.
Using a small, sharp knife pierce the sausages in 3 or 4 places. Heat 1 T of the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the sausages to cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.
While you are cooking the sausages, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a deep 10-11 inch wide pot. Over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring until softened or about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining tablespoon of thyme and cook for about a minute continuing to stir. Add the wine, raise the heat to high and simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook until about a quarter of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans and the broth and bring to a simmer to cook for about 10 minutes. If you like, use a potato masher to gently crush some of the beans and tomatoes and thicken the soup a bit. Season to taste with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Cut the sausages in half or bit size pieces. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with sausages and top with the breadcrumbs.

That's if for tonight. It's Mothers' Day eve and worked hard all day so I could take off tomorrow. Happy Mothers' Day!


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