Cooking for a large family is always an experience. First off, it’s hard to please everyone, but more importantly, you end up having to adjust and improvise almost every recipe you find.
Most recipes I see serve four or six people. Or they might say they serve large groups for hosting a party, but they’re still just eight servings. It’s never enough in my family.
There are seven of us. Well, our oldest daughter moved out, but she often comes over with her fiance. But even with them not around, I have a nearly 18-year-old boy, two other teenagers, and a 9-year-old, plus my husband to cook for. My oldest son eats enough for like five people. No recipe for eight would ever be enough for everyone so I double or triple almost everything I make.
Some of the easiest meals to make are soups. Even in the summer, we have some kind of soup at least once a week because I can make huge batches of it and add more water/broth as it’s eaten to make it go longer.
Tonight we had sausage and white bean soup based off a recipe I found online a few years ago that was for the slow cooker. As much as I love my Crockpot, I don’t use it much anymore. I cook almost everything on the stove. And even then, this recipe is heavily modified from the modified version I wrote down originally.
Sausage and White Bean Soup
- 1 lb dry Navy beans
- 1 lb dry Great Northern beans
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 8 cups water
- olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic (jarred)
- 2 tsp oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 16 oz package Andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 bag baby spinach leaves
- Soak beans overnight in water (alternately, use a whole lot of cans of different white beans, drained and rinsed)
- Drain beans and set aside.
- In a large pot, sautee carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil until tender; add garlic and continue for a minute.
- Pour in chicken stock and water then stir.
- Add beans, sausage, and seasoning; bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer on medium for an hour or until beans are tender.
- Turn off heat and add as much spinach as you like (it’ll cook while the soup cools a bit).
- Serve with crackers or sourdough bread. Also good topped with parmesan cheese.
Tip: When the broth starts to dwindle and you’re left with piles of beans at the bottom, just add more water (or chicken stock) and heat it back up. I do this when no one’s looking–they never know the difference, and it makes the soup last longer.