Bean bonanza continues. There is only one more official week of winter, so I wanted to share with you one more of my favorite soup recipes. Of course, this one has beans in it because of our monthly focus–are you sick of beans yet?

Beans or no beans though, this is one of my all-time favorite soups! A good family friend of ours had a recipe similar to this but it was in casserole form (thanks Brenda :). I loved the flavors of the dinner, but thought I would actually like it better as a soup. The results were perfect! If you liked our Gumbo Soup from last month, this soup has a similar flavor but much easier to make. For this soup I cooked up a crock pot of white beans and let them cook overnight on low heat. In the morning the beans were tender and soft and ready for the soup. There was enough beans for the 9 cups for the Tuscan Soup recipe, and then plenty to make white bean cupcakes (recipe from yesterday), 4 loaves of white bean bread (recipe coming soon) and a batch of my favorite cornbread recipe made with white beans (details coming soon :). Cooking a large batch of beans will save you hassle in the future and allow you to cook several of your recipes with the added nutrients of beans. 

Here is the recipe for this ultra delicious soup! (You know me..this soup will feed an army, so you can half the recipe if you need, or just freeze the extras for a later meal)

Tuscan White Bean Chicken Soup
  1. 2 onions
  2. 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  3. 1 cup chopped celery
  4. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  5. 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  6. 16 oz. polish sausage link. sliced thin
  7. 2 garlic cloves
  8. 2 tsp. thyme
  9. 2 dry bay leaves
  10. 1 Tbs. fresh or dried parsley
  11. Garlic powder (about 2 t.)
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. 3 cans diced tomatoes
  14. 5  cans white northern beans, drained
  15. 1 cup pureed white beans (of the 5 cans)
  16. 12 cup chicken broth (or, if you are like me, use water and chicken base/bouillon instead)
  17. 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream (this is totally optional)
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  1. Dice the onions, celery and carrots into small pieces. Place these vegetables into a soup pot and saute with a little olive oil until soft and tender (if you have a food processor you can easily chop all of the vegetables quickly). Cut the chicken into cubes and the sausage into thin slices. Add the chicken and sausage to the vegetables and let saute until they are mostly cooked through. Season the meat and vegetable mixture with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, and add the bay leaves. Add the 12 cups of chicken broth to the pot as well as the canned tomatoes. If using canned white beans, drain the juices from the can. Remove one cup of the beans and puree or mash until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the soup (this will act as a thickening agent). Add the remaining beans to the soup. Let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until everything is combined. Right before serving, pour in the heavy whipping cream (optional). Serve soup warm with bread or cornbread.
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