12ouncessmoked sausage linkssuch as kielbasa or andouille, cut into 1/4-inch slices
5cupschicken broth OR stockDIVIDED
8ounceskaletough stems removed and finely chopped/shredded
1small bay leaf
4cans(15-ounces, each) white beans (such as Cannellini, Great Northern, or Navy)rinsed and drained
A few dashes hot pepper sauce
Salt & freshly ground black pepperto taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese OR crumbled feta cheesefor garnish
Place a large pot over medium heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pot, swirl to coat, and add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the sausage is browned. Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate, pour a bit more oil in the center of the pot, and add minced garlic. Stir and cook for about 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant and light golden brown.
Pour 4 cups chicken broth/stock into pot and stir in kale, bay leaf, and garlic powder. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
Place about 1/3 of the drained beans in a blender or food processor along with the remaining 1 cup chicken broth/stock. Puree until smooth.
Once kale is tender, add whole beans, pureed beans, and browned sausage to the pot. Season with dashes of hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir and simmer for a few minutes until heated through. Remove bay leaf before serving.
I pulse the kale leaves (after removing tough stems) in my food processor (using the regular blade) until shredded (but not pureed). After adding the kale to the soup, I use the same food processor bowl (without cleaning it first) to puree the beans.