Ok, so I am a fan of big pot of soup. Its cheap and nice to have around for leftovers for a few days. I haven't tried freezing this one yet but its probably fine.
I think that any greens would work in this, especially spinach. I am sure collards or chard would work too, but I don't have as much experience with them. At the first serving, the kale still had a nice texture that spinach would lose pretty quick.
You could use canned beans in a pinch, but why not make your own? Its much cheaper anyhow, and its pretty easy. I use this method. The white navy beans I used needed more like 90-95 minutes, so don't be afraid to add a little more time once you check them and account for a bit extra time so you aren't eating late. The soup can always simmer longer if its done too early.
Home made chicken stock is so great in soups like this. Its really not that much more work! Plan a whole chicken for one meal (or put in the crock pot and shred for another meal) and then put the bones and some veggies or veggie scraps in a crock pot or stock pot and simmer over night. Strain in the AM and presto, stock for your soup. No more salty and pricey store bought broth. Here is more info on this.
I came across this version of the soup and it had the addition of a parmesan rind. Its optional, but highly recommended. Totally worth buying the block of parmesan at the store. You know you can use the rest somewhere. Or better yet, just make a mental note to keep leftover rind in the freezer for times like this.
Ok, on to the soup
White Bean, Kielbasa, and Kale Soup
1 package white beans (cannelloni, great northern, navy) cooked or 4 cans drained
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 package kielbasa, sliced 1/2" thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Parmesan rind (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, stem removed and cut into 1ish inch pieces
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil on medium.
Brown the kielbasa on each side. Remove. Add the veggies and cook 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the beans, broth, kielbasa, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and rind to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper (i used home made stock and beans, so I needed a good amount of salt)
Let simmer for 15-30 minutes (at least long enough for veggies to be soft)
Remove bay leaf and rind. Add kale and let simmer 5 minutes and serve.