Thank you previous reviewers! I soaked the beans overnight and cooked the soup on high for 8 hours - adding the kale and sausage in at hour 7. Did not have fresh thyme today so used some dried thyme instead. We liked the hot Italian sausage but would also like to try a chicken or turkey sausage which would undoubtedly be leaner. Very filling on a wintry night and I imagine left overs will be even better tomorrow. Will make again!
I've made this recipe three times because we love the flavor, but the beans are crunch, twice with my older oval crockpot on low, first to the directions, second extended times on low and high, and the third with my two month old Kitchen Aid that has performed beautifully. I went with the medium setting and used Kroger brand Great Northern Beans, same as the first two times. Another review has a response noting the person used Bob's Red Mill Small White beans and it was perfect. So I'll try these, I also see some people saying to go ahead and presoak the beans, any responses on cooking beans in the slow cooker so they have a soft texture I would welcome. Thank you.
This is great... with my adjustments it is 5 star! First off, I soaked the beans for 24 hours to soften. Then I sautee'd the veggies for 5-8 minutes to bring out flavor. Deglazed the pan with some of my HOMEMADE chicken stock. Added some leftover diced ham. Used Trader Joe's chicken sausage with sundried tomatoes and basil. Just threw the links at the beginning in to cook, then sliced them up at the same time as adding the kale and threw them back in. The only issue with this method is the casing will be just about impossible to remove, if it bothers you. YUMMY!
Loved this recipe, I used ham cut into small cubes instead of sausage. Delicious!
I used Bob's Red Mill Small White Beans (2 cups) and 64 oz (1 1/2 cups more than recipe called for) of Progresso's reduced sodium chicken stock and they came out perfect. My sausage balls were about an inch big and were cooked through at 30 minutes. Maybe it was your crock-pot.
Next time, place the beans in enough cold water to cover the beans. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and leave covered. Drain the beans until there is no color coming from them. Add to your recipe and cook as directed. This is called the "quick soak method". Always works for me. Good luck.
I thought this would be a great Thanksgiving eve dinner -- light and pretty healthy. The broth was very tasty and the vegetables were nicely tender. My only complaint is that after soaking the beans 12 hours (at another reviewers suggestion), the beans were still kind of hard. I'm wondering if cooking on low never gave the beans much time to cook through. I'll give this recipe another try. Right now, it's on the stove top cooking. Hopefully the beans will soften.
I loved the ease of this recipe but, like another reviewer, I'm not sure Italian sausage was the right fit. We adore hot Italian sausage and add it to everything (e.g. often sub it for regular ground meat in lasagna, baked ziti, even chili), but it just seemed out of place here. Might try again with a different sausage, because otherwise the soup is tasty and a cinch to prepare.
I like using the slow cooker, and this dish was straightforward and easy to pull together. I used pinto beans instead of the Great Northern beans and was happy with the results. Overall this dish isn't exciting, but the hot Italian sausage meatballs added some nice zip. The soup tasted light and healthy and was filling. I served it with some toasted multi-grain bread. I made the soup for just my husband and me, and I was able to freeze enough leftovers for two more hearty suppers. I would definitely make this again the next time I'm craving a cozy dinner.
I am thrilled to have found this recipe because it is hearty and filling enough to satisfy my husband. It has so much flavor, and yet has very simple ingredients. It was also very easy and quick to throw together. I used hot turkey Italian sausage which made very tender meatballs. Served with cornbread. There was just one problem ... the beans were still crunchy. I cooked it as called for in the recipe, and in a brand new slow cooker, so the slow cooker was not the problem as another reviewer lamented. I will definitely make this soup again, but next time I will soak the beans overnight first. I highly recommend this soup!
Made to recipe over two days using home-made stock (which probably gave us a richer finish than if we'd used broth). First day was just step #1, then put soup in fridge overnight. Second day re-heated soup to high and added curly kale & sausage-balls to finish. Nice color from the kale & liked the bit of heat from the turkey sausage. Crusty ciabbatta rolls at the table. Great on a very cold and rainy day.
I rarely use a slow cooker, but I loved the idea of being able to use dry beans so I gave it a try. I used homemade chicken stock. After 7 hours I had to leave the house so I turned off cooker. Beans were tender at that point. I put it in fridge overnight and heated it on the stove the next day. I added meat balls (made from hot ground chicken sausage) and kale and cooked 30 min. It was delicious. Since I intended to freeze most of it, I did not add the parm cheese and lemon juice to the soup that I froze. I did the math to determine how much lemon juice (3/4 teaspoon) and parmesan cheese (1 1/2 teaspoon) to add per serving. Next time I will probably add more chicken broth and kale.
Instant hit in our household. Love that there's no browning to do in the morning -- just dump it all in the cooker and go. Tips: 1) This thickens up -- definitely more of a stew than a soup. We added more broth to it with the meatballs. 2) Definitely allow more time for the meatballs to cook - up to an hour (especially if the cooker has been on "keep warm" for a while before you turn it on to HIGH). Not sure I'll even include the sausage next time as this is a hearty dish even without them!
The flavor of this soup is outstanding and very hearty. However, we were disappointed with the texture of the beans: after 8 hours of slow cooking and the additional 30 minutes of High crock pot setting the beans were still a little crunchy! Also, the meatballs were not thoroughly cooked in the amount of time give on High setting. I had to cook them twice as long as directed. I'm trying to come up with the reason why, and I have 2 guesses. (1) I did not use salt free chicken broth, mine was reduced sodium. Could it be the sodium in the liquid prevented the beans from softening? and (2) my crock pot is circa 1980 and maybe the heating element is not as efficient as it needs to be??? I will try this soup again with the exact ingredients called for and a new crockpot! The flavor was that good!
Delicious and very easy! I really enjoyed the Italian sausage meatballs but I would make them a little smaller - maybe 1/2T or so. Instead of spicy sausage I used Sicilian sausage which contains extra fennel and I thought the taste was great. I will definitely make this again as I am always looking for ways to add more beans and greens to my family's diet.
There were a lot off good elements to this recipe and some room for improvement. The prep work to get everything ready for the crock pot was a breeze. I love cooking with beans and that element of the soup was wonderful. In regards to room for improvement, I'm not sure hot Italian sausage was the right protein. I'm not sure if it was the sausage or the sausage mixed with the flavor from the bay but it was pretty overpowering. Weird as I actually like Italian sausage. Next time I'm going to try it with kielbasa or a milder chicken sausage. I really did like the recipe as a whole and will make it again with a different protein
I made this exactly to the recipe and it was fabulous. My husband asked "please keep this recipe to make it again!".