This Spanish-Style White Bean Soup is based on fresh ingredients, like chorizo sausage, kale, in a smoky, rich saffron broth with white beans.
This Spanish-Style White Bean Soup is based on fresh ingredients. The soup starts with a good quality chorizo sausage, browned with onions and red bell peppers, that go into a rich broth with saffron, smoked paprika, and white beans. It is finished with fresh kale and a splash of red wine vinegar.
This soup is bold, flavorful, and oh so good! The first time I made this recipe was in 2013. This recipe comes from Sara Moulton, whom I had the pleasure of meeting three years later.
Let me tell you more about each of them.
Three ingredients make this Spanish-Style White Bean Soup from a pretty good soup to a fantastic soup. Those ingredients are saffron, good quality chorizo sausage, and smoked paprika.
#1 The Saffron
Saffron offers brilliant yellow color, aroma, and flavor to any dish, especially against bland grains. Saffron threads are the stamens of the crocus flower. This particular flower blooms for one week and produces about three stamens. The handpicked stamens are dried. According to SeriousEats.com, 150 flowers make 1 gram of saffron.
Therefore, this makes Saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world! It is not surprising that you find it ridiculously overpriced in the spice section of the local grocery store.
You can purchase some reasonably priced Saffron HERE.
Using Saffron In This White Bean Soup
Please don’t think you can’t make this soup without saffron. You can!
If you have never had saffron, then you will never miss it. Saffron has a very distinct smell and taste. I have never had anything that smells or tastes quite as it does. It is hard to describe, and I cannot put it into words. The only way to find out what saffron tastes like is to try it yourself.
I highly encourage you to purchase some saffron and try using it in this beautiful soup. Once you know the level of flavor that saffron can bring to a dish, you will never forget it. It’s pretty amazing!
#2 The Spanish Chorizo
I use an excellent quality Spanish chorizo sausage I purchase from a local butcher. Good quality chorizo plays a big part in this soup.
Spanish Chorizo is a highly seasoned chopped or ground pork sausage that adds a big flavor to Spanish cuisine. Chorizo is made of garlic and Spanish smoked paprika, which gives it a deep red color and smoky flavor. You can purchase it in both a sweet or spicy variety.
We like our chorizo spicy!
#3 The Smoked Paprika
As for the paprika, I didn’t know the secret powers of delicious smoked paprika for a long time. Heck, mama told me a long time ago paprika was just for looks when she sprinkled it on her chicken salad.
The robust flavors of smoked paprika give this soup a whole new meaning without overpowering it, and it is not for looks!
Ingredients Needed to Make This Soup
- Beans: Canned Great Northern White beans, drained and rinsed
- Liquid: Vegetable broth, chicken broth, and water
- Seasoning: Saffron threads, bay leaf, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper
- Oil: extra-virgin olive oil or oil of choice
- Sausage: Spanish chorizo sausages
- Vegetables: onion, garlic, red bell pepper, kale
- For Serving: red wine vinegar
What is Smoked Paprika?
Regular paprika is made of crushed dried chilies, whereas smoked paprika is made of crushed smoke-dried chilies. It is sometimes called pimenton, smoked pimenton, Spanish paprika, or any variation. Smoked paprika is known for its deep red color, mildly sweet, and powerful smoky aroma. It’s not typically a hot spice unless the labeling on the package states otherwise.
How To Make Spanish-Style White Bean Soup With Kale and Chorizo
- Cook the Chorizo: Cook until browned, then drain. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the Vegetables: start with onions, then add the garlic and red bell peppers.
- Stir in the Liquid: Add the cooked sausage back into the pot, smoked paprika, and drained beans. Then stir in the vegetable broth, chicken broth, water.
- Simmer: Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Steep the Saffron: Ladle some hot broth into a cup or mug. Stir in the saffron threads and allow to steep in the warm broth for about 5 minutes while continuing to simmer the soup. After 5 minutes, stir the saffron along with the soaking liquid and bay leaf to the pot of soup. Cover and continue to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cook the Kale: About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add the kale and bring the pot back to a simmer. Cook until the kale becomes wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Before Serving: Remove the bay leaf before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Serving: Serve this soup hot with a few splashes of red wine vinegar to taste. The red wine vinegar gives this savory soup a tang that sends it over the top!
This is one of my favorite soup recipes. David and I are all about clean eating with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Over time, we have realized that good quality ingredients matter even more than I knew. This soup is proof of that.
I know if you try this soup, it will become your favorite too!
Spanish-Style White Bean Soup With Kale and Chorizo
- 32 ounces Great Northern white beans ((2) 15.5-ounce cans) drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ pound Spanish chorizo sausages cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large red bell pepper finely diced
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika MUST SAY “SMOKED”
- ¾ pound kale small bunch, tough stems removed, washed well, and coarsely chopped
- red wine vinegar to taste, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until browned, do not overcrowd the pan.Once the sausages have browned, remove and allow them to drain on paper towels.Drain excess grease from the pan (if needed), but leave about a tablespoon or so in the pan.
- Add the onions, into the same pot. Cook, stirring often until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Then add bell peppers; cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Next, add the cooked sausage, smoked paprika, and the drained beans to the pot. Then stir in the vegetable broth, chicken broth, water.
- Bring the pot to a boil, over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat and simmer stirring occasionally.
- When the broth is warm, ladle ½ cup of the hot broth into a cup or mug. Stir in the saffron threads and allow to steep in the warm broth for about 5 minutes, while continuing to simmer the soup.
- After 5 minutes, stir in the saffron, the soaking liquid and bay leaf to the pot of soup.
- Cover and continue to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add in the kale and bring the pot back to a simmer. Cook until the kale becomes wilted; about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf before serving and season with salt and pepper, to taste if needed.
- Serve this soup hot with a few splashes of red wine vinegar, to taste.
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