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8 & $20: Chicken and Sausage Soup with a Spanish Red

This easy-to-make dinner is both wholesome and comforting

Jennifer Fiedler
Posted: March 22, 2011

Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our new feature, "8 & $20." We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

When the calendar says spring, but the weather outside still feels like winter, nothing quite hits the spot like a warming midweek soup. Here’s a seasonal recipe for one that’s hearty without being heavy.

The soup is a hodgepodge of textures and flavors with creamy white beans, earthy kale and rich sausage. Choose a fresh pork sausage, such as one flavored with paprika, or for a twist, you can use cured Spanish chorizo instead.

Tweak the recipe to your liking—all soups benefit from a bit of improvisation—but note that the wine pairing will depend on the ratio of ingredients that you use. If you load up on kale and white beans for a lighter dinner, look for a minerally white to match up with the beans. But if you use the ingredients in the amounts detailed below, we found that a red Rioja locked in nicely: The brightness in the wine provided a lift to the richness of the sausage.

Chicken Soup with White Beans, Sausage and Kale

Pair with a Tempranillo from Spain, such as Bodegas Olarra Rioja Anares Crianza 2007 (87 points, $14)

Total time: 35 minutes

Approximate food cost: $27

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 pound fresh spicy pork sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled into small pieces (or cured chorizo, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup wine (whatever you’re drinking will work best)
  • 1 16 oz. can great northern beans, or any white bean
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and chopped into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 loaf of bread, such as sourdough

1. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat, and sear the chicken until golden brown, around 3 minutes a side. Cover the chicken with water and continue cooking. When the water comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a low simmer.

2. While the chicken is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a stockpot. Add the crumbled sausage and cook for 1 minute, or until it begins to brown, then remove the pieces from the pot using a slotted spoon. Add the onions to the pot and cook for about 1 minute, or until they soften, then add the carrots and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half.

3. In the meantime, after the chicken breasts are cooked through, around 10 minutes, remove them from the water. Pour the water into the pot with the onions and carrots. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is at a low simmer. Add the sausage and white beans. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add them to the soup. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the kale. Cook for an additional minute, then check the seasoning, divide into four bowls and serve with a loaf of bread. Serves 4.

Note: This soup tastes just as good the next day too, so consider making more than you’ll need so that you have leftovers.

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