1pounddried Great Northern OR navy beanspicked over
8 to 12ouncesandouille sausagesliced
2cups(approximately 8 ounces) sliced carrots
2medium stalks celerysliced
1(15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
8cupslow-sodium chicken broth OR stock
1 ½teaspoonCreole seasoningsuch as Tony Chachere's
Freshly ground black pepperto taste
Hot pepper saucesuch as Tabasco and/or cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Rinse and drain the beans and place them in the bottom of a large (7- to 8-quart) slow cooker. Add the sausage, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and garlic on top. Carefully pour the chicken broth over the ingredients in the slow cooker, and then sprinkle with the Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are tender.
Use a ladle to scoop about 3 cups of soup (without sausage) into a separate bowl and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (or use a potato masher to mash). Stir the pureed soup back into the slow cooker. Adjust the seasonings to taste, adding additional Creole seasoning if desired or adding hot pepper sauce or cayenne for heat (to the entire slow cooker or to individual bowls).