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Chicken Sausage and White Bean Soup

I invented this soup 100% for my kids….they love sausage, they love beans and they love chicken broth based soups.  Voila!  I could tell it was a hit when both of them literally picked up their soup bowls and drank every last drop of broth (and then immediately asked if their thermoses were clean so that they could have the leftovers packed for their lunch tomorrow).  Success!  As a stay-at-home Mom, sometimes it’s the little wins that keep you going.  I browned the sausage and onions, garlic and jalapenos and then let the ingredients slow cook in the crock pot because we had to leave the house.  However, this soup could easily be made on the stove top in an hour or two if you don’t have time to make it earlier in the day and let it slow cook in the crock pot.  In terms of sausages, you could use any variety of pork, turkey or chicken sausages.  I liked the different flavors (and colors, if you can tell in the picture) that using two different types of sausage brought to the soup.

Chicken Sausage and White Bean Soup (Serves 8-10)

1 lb hot Italian chicken sausage links (casings cut off)

1 lb ground pork sausage, chicken sausage or turkey sausage

3 cans cannelli beans, drained and rinsed

4 oz. can diced green chiles

64 – 80 oz chicken or beef stock (8-10 cups)

1 onion, diced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 – 1 jalapeno (depending on your heat preference), diced

dash of hot sauce

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

8 oz light cream cheese or neufchatel cheese

toppings: fresh cilantro, diced fresh tomatoes, hot sauce

Directions:

Slow Cooker:  In skillet, brown sausage until cooked through.  Drain fat and transfer sausage in slow cooker.  In same skillet, cook onion, garlic and jalapeno for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.  Mix cumin, salt and pepper into onion mixture, stir and cook for 1 minute.  Transfer into slow cooker.  Add broth, beans, diced green chiles and cream cheese.  Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.  While cooking, stir with whisk to break up cream cheese.  Before serving add a few dashes of hot sauce to amp up flavor. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, etc.

Stove Top:  In soup pot, brown sausage, drain fat and set aside.  In same soup pot, cook onion, garlic and jalapeno for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.  Mix cumin, salt and pepper into onion mixture, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add broth, beans, diced green chiles and cream cheese.  Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until cream cheese has combined smoothly.  Before serving add a few dashes of hot sauce to amp up flavor. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, etc.