Fall Comfort Food

By Logan Yost (NYC Contributor)

Yesterday something amazing happened. The temperature was 72*F and for about five minutes I was able to open my windows and turn off the air conditioner. This obviously means that summer is over. I mean, is it Christmas yet? I figured this sudden arctic cold front was a good excuse to make a gigantic pot of soup, so that’s exactly what I did.

Soup is an easy, often inexpensive way to make a large amount of food that’s easily reheatable throughout the week and freezes really well, and it’s my favorite thing at the approach of fall. I went with a white bean soup and just for fun I made some sensible cheese toast. Try it. You’ll like it.

WINTER WHITE BEAN SOUP

  • 4-tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs spicy turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1-tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 stocks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1-teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1-tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • ½-t dried oregano
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1-cup white wine
  • ¼-cup cognac
  • 1-28oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2-quarts low sodium chicken stock
  • 2-teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-15oz cans white or navy beans, drained and rinsed well
  • ½ cup freshly minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground or grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350*F

In a large French oven or stockpot over medium-high heat, sauté the spicy turkey sausage in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until rendered and brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and stir to combine. Sauté over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, and sage and continue to sauté for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes before adding the white wine and cognac. Sauté until the alcohol is reduced my half. Add the tomatoes, stock, and sausage back into the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and bake for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the pot from the oven, add the beans and return to the oven for 15 minutes, then bring the pot to the stove off the heat with no lid. Allow the soup to sit for 20 minutes so the fat will rise to the top and then skim off all visible oil. While the soup is sitting, make the cheese toast. After skimming, turn on the heat and bring the soup back to a simmer, add the parsley and serve with fresh Parmesan.

CHEESE TOASTS

  • 1 baguette, sliced into ½” pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½-cup freshly ground or grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼-cup freshly minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • ¼-teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350*F

Using a half-sheet pan or a baker, place the baguette slices in a single layer. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper until well blended. Cover each piece of bread with 1 tablespoon of the cheese and butter mixture. Bake for 5 minutes before putting under the broiler for 2 minutes. Serve warm.

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