Chef John Folse's Red Bean And Sausage Soup

Prep Time: 2½ Hours
Yields: 4 Servings

Comment:  Red beans and rice is Louisiana's Monday dish. Here, the traditional recipe has been made into a hearty soup that can be used as a starter or an entrée.

2 cups dried red kidney beans
¼ pound smoked sausage, sliced
¼ cup diced tasso (optional)
9 cups chicken broth
½ cup diced onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced bell peppers
¼ cup sliced green onions
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cider vinegar
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Place all ingredients in a 1-gallon heavy-bottomed stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until beans are very tender. Remove about ½ cup of beans from pot and purée in a food processor with 2 cups of liquid. (Or, you may mash the beans in the pot with the back of a cooking spoon.) Return puréed beans to soup to create a thicker consistency. NOTE: White or black beans can be substituted for red beans for an easy variation to this dish.