Before one sneers at the though of a soup loaded with beans & greens, let me assure them that not only is this one of the tastiest soups they’ll ever know, it’s also one of the most comforting and satisfying. The sausage & Parmesan are optional, but I’m all for them to add some additional deep, rich flavor to this Italian classic known as Bean & Escarole Soup. Oh – and it’s done with 9 simple ingredients (or less).
If you loved my Sausage & Spinach Soup, this is basically its lighter (yet equally scrumptious) cousin.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or hot or a mix of the two), casings removed (optional)
- 1-2 bunches escarole, roughly chopped with tougher white bottom discarded (see Step 1)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 6 cups of chicken or garlic broth (e.g. Garlic Better Than Bouillon)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more for topping (freshly ground is best here)
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini, navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed (see Jeff's Tips)
- ¼-½ cup grated Parmesan (optional)
- Seasoned salt, to taste (optional, see Jeff’s Tips)
- Add the oil to the Instant Pot and hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High Setting. After 2-3 minutes of heating, add the sausage (if using) and sauté for 3 minutes, until crumbled and lightly browned. Then, add the escarole and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the escarole is wilted. (NOTE: If using 2 bunches of escarole, add them in two batches. Otherwise, it can get crowded in the pot. Once the first batch wilts, add the second and sauté another 1-2 minutes until wilted).
- Add the broth and pepper and stir well. Top with the beans but do not stir. Just smooth them out with a mixing spoon. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel and then hit Pressure Cook or Manual at High Pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Stir in the Parmesan (if using, start with ¼ cup and add up to ½ cup if desired). Taste the soup. If at this point you feel it needs seasoned salt, start by adding 1 teaspoon, stir, taste and increase from there up to 1 tablespoon. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Goes great with a side of garlic bread.
AVOID OVERSALTING: The seasoned salt is subjective on whether or not you added the sausage and/or Parmesan to the soup. Both emit salt so they’ll likely satisfy the soup’s savory capacity. If you added one or both, make sure you really taste the broth in Step 3. You can always add more salt to recipes but not really retract it once it’s in there (unless you add water, which can throw off the ratio of the goodies in the soup). To that point, if you didn’t add the sausage nor Parmesan, you’ll likely want to add 1-3 teaspoons of seasoned salt in Step 3. Regardless, all taste buds are different so do it to your (and your loved ones) personal preference.
If you feel like using a darker bean, by all means, mix it up and add whatever kind you wish. Just make sure they’re drained and rinsed from the can before adding in Step 2.