Cannellini, Kale and Chicken Sausage Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

6-8 cloves garlic, crushed

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

4-6 thick slices bacon, cut into small pieces

3 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

12 oz. chicken sausage, cut into 1/2 inches chunks

1 bunch (about 1 pound) kale, rinsed and stemmed, leaves sliced into 1/2 inch strips or chopped

2 bay leaves, broken in half

1 14.5 oz. can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes

4 cups organic chicken stock

2 cups water

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the chicken sausage.  Cook until browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the bacon pieces to the pan and cook over medium heat.  Cook until lightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté over medium-low heat.  Stir occasionally, until the vegetables soften and are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove enough rosemary leaves and finely chop to measure 1 teaspoon.  Add the rosemary to the vegetables when they are browned.  Then, stir in the crushed garlic, cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Stir in the stock, water, bay leaves, sausage, bacon, beans, kale and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat so that the soup simmers.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes; or, place in the oven, which has been pre-heated to 300° F. for the same amount of time.  (I used the oven as then I didn't have to watch over the pot to make certain it maintained a simmer....)

Remove from the oven or stovetop and add the rosemary sprig and if there are any leaves still on the first stem, toss it in also.  Let the soup stand for at least 15 minutes.

Remove the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the soup in the pot or drizzle a little over individual servings.

Serve with a crusty bread!

I can see that this soup could also be prepared and put in the slow cooker to simmer away on high until I was ready to eat!