Pinto Bean and Sausage Soup

Pinto Bean & Turkey Sausage Soup

This is a variation of my ‘go-to’ bean dishes that find their way to my table all whenever the weather starts to turn cool. This particular version uses turkey sausage and chicken for lower fat content, and the pinto beans that my 5 year old decided we needed at the grocery store the other day.   Although this isn’t a gumbo, I did use the idea of gumbo as an inspiration for the flavors, tempered by what I actually had on hand.
Pinto Bean and Sausage Soup
What’s great about recipes like this?

  • Make Ahead: They are great for a make-ahead school night dinner (just cook up a big batch the night before and reheat — it’s even better the next day!)
  • Freezable: — Make a double recipe and freeze the rest for when you don’t feel like cooking another night.  (Freeze flat in a freezer bag for quicker defrosting)
  • Easily Added on to:  I’ve been known to toss an extra can of beans in the leftovers from the first night to stretch it out to a second night, or for lunches the next day.
  • Get another meal out of it:  Leftovers make great tortilla filling, so you can pull together a quick burrito or quesadilla dinner the following day, that doesn’t feel like leftovers.
  • Low Carb: It’s a tasty, filling meal full of ‘good carbs’, for those doing South Beach or other lower-carb diets.

Throwing together a soup like this is as much art as science, so take this recipe as a guideline, and feel free to add your own twist.

One big caveat that you should note:  I made my own chicken broth–with garlic, leeks, and thyme–and it was really flavorful.  In fact, the inspiration for the soup was that I had a chicken carcass that was begging to become broth, and I really already had enough broth squirreled away in the freezer. While it’s certainly not required that you use homemade broth, if you use store bought you may want to increase the aromatics in the recipe to get the same effect.


Pinto Bean & Sausage Soup

  • 1 lb Turkey Smoked Sausage, cut into rounds.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cans Pinto Beans & 1 can Light Red Kidney Beans (really you can use any combination you wish)
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth (homemade is best*!)
  • 1 cup diced chicken meat (light or dark)
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • Salt / Pepper / Cajun Spices to taste
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Dash red or white wine vinegar

In a large pot, over med-high heat, heat drizzle of olive oil, and add your sausage.  Brown the sausage for several minutes, stirring.  Add onion and bell pepper and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook until soft and aromatic.

Add beans, tomatoes, chicken, thyme, and 3 cups broth.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes, more if you like.  Taste after 15 minutes and add salt, pepper, and/or prepackaged cajun seasoning and tobasco.   (how much needed will depend on how salty your broth or tomatoes were. )  If it doesn’t seem soupy enough, or if you plan on little it cook longer (just turn temp to low), add more broth.

At the end of the cooking, splash on a shake of wine vinegar.  Taste and add any additional seasoning if needed.

Optional:  Serve over rice.


Prep Notes:

  • I made the broth and cooked the chicken meat the day before.
  • *I removed the breasts and a bit of the dark meat from my whole chicken, for a prior dish.   I cooked the chicken carcass, with it’s remaining meat, as I would to make chicken stock, but I removed the chicken from the water to a colander when the chicken was cooked enough to be easily removed from the bone.  When the chicken had cooled enough to touch, I removed the chicken meat, and returned the rest to the pot to continue the broth making process.   After a 4 hours, I removed strained the broth out and chilled it overnight so I could remove the fat.
  • Save additional broth to be added when reheating the soup the next day.
  • Several celery stalks, chopped finely, would have been an excellent addition to the onions and peppers at the beginning.  Also, a bay leaf is a nice aromatic to add.
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