White Bean and Bratwurst Soup with Mixed Spring Greens

Even though we’ve been getting more breaks from the cold and rain (and miraculously, they’ve been falling on weekends), winter typically likes to thumb its nose at us here in the Pacific Northwest, telling spring to go fuck right off. Today is one of those days – I think it was in the 50s and rainy all day. Oh, there were intermittent “sunshowers” (which are a lot less interesting than golden showers), as if rainbows make it all worth it? Fucking hippies.

Anyways, this just gives me the chance to make some soup while doing a little spring cleaning of my fridge and freezer. I still have a bag of weisswurst and bierwurst from Edelweiss (my favorite German deli – they make the best reuben I have ever eaten, washed down with the only beer they have on tap: Spaten. Seriously, would you have it any other way?) from a couple months ago, a bag of mixed greens (baby swiss chard, kale, mizuni and collard), and the fresh thyme is about spent. Since I always keep a few cans of beans in the cupboard for fast dinners (and the frozen French lentils ended up being a dry brick beyond salvation), I made this satisfying soup. Also, the Hubz had his gums excavated with a fucking Goedendag today and can’t chew much.

Zuppa Toscana (al Tedesco)
This is a basic Tuscan kale, sausage and white bean soup, but since I used German sausages I thought I’d rename it. Enjoy with crusty bread and a crisp Reisling (or a shot of whiskey and a painkiller, if you’ve just had your gums scraped). Serves 2 with two days’ leftovers.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small-ish onion, diced
1 tbsp minced shallot
2 large bratwurst (I used one bierwurst and one weisswurst)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 handfuls of chopped baby greens (I get a bulk mix consisting of chard, kale, mustard and collard)
7 c chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 fat pinch of red chili flake
1 15oz. can of white beans such as cannelini or Great Northern

In a large pot, saute the onion and shallot in the oil for a minute, then add the garlic, thyme and brats and cook until the sausage is browned. Dump in the greens and stir to wilt, then add the stock and chili flake. Add copious amounts of fresh ground black pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes (or the amount of time it takes to set up this blog post). Add the beans, undrained. While the thick, starchy liquid will give the soup body, it made my stomach squeal a little (so take some Beano if you must).

I leave you with this disturbing image.

Sacramento, CA, and Ellensburg, WA are just civilized enough to leave me wanting for a little trouble, although I do have a photo from a Joe’s Crab Shack that is, as far as I can surmise, nothing more than a family-friendly Hooters. Instead of wings, they have buckets of shrimp. And the girls, while of similar exuberance and insipidity, are slightly more clothed than your common Hooters girl.