Collard Green Soup with Sausage

This is a soup for cold days and warm. It’s comforting and filling, just the thing when the nights are chilly. But in the spring, when we’re starting to get back to fresher, healthier dinners, this soup can be just right. It has wonderfully healthy collards in a delicious broth, with sausage for extra flavor.

Southern chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis had this recipe in a November issue of Southern Living a few years ago. She noted the sausage is easily replaced by an equal amount of shredded turkey — great for using up Thanksgiving leftovers — or a combination of the two.

It’s easy to make, especially if you have all of the ingredients prepared before the cooking starts.

Serves 6

3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 lb. Italian pork sausage, casings removed, broken up by hand into small pieces
3 Tbsp. all-purpose (plain) flour
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts unsalted good-quality chicken stock, divided
1 1/2 lbs. collard greens, ribs removed, chopped (or just over 1 lb. pre-shredded)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Hot cooked rice

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring often, until sausage crumbles and is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sieve set over a plate to drain.

Stir in flour and remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns golden. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 quart of stock, stirring to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.

Stir in collard greens and cooked sausage, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, about 45 minutes. Add more stock as needed.

Stir in salt and pepper just before serving. Serve cooked rice on the side for everyone at the table to add themselves.