Confession: I’ve never used a slow cooker before. Ever. Until about three weeks ago, when I was testing a few models for our roundup of best slow cookers. I’ve been meaning to play around with one for awhile, and now that it’s finally Slow-Cooker Month here on Simply Stated, I have the perfect excuse. One of my first experiments was with this White Bean Soup With Andouille and Collards recipe (though I used kale instead).
I usually use canned beans in recipes, so I was curious to see how dried beans would turn out in the cooker. And I loved that this recipe didn’t really require any maintenance before or during the cooking time; no initial browning, and only one real addition before the soup was done (adding the greens 20 minutes before serving).
I tossed in my ingredients and set the cooker on high for 4 hours. After a couple hours, my apartment started to smell amazing—definitely a nice bonus. It was comforting, being able to do other things around the house and knowing that a warm, yummy meal would soon be ready. When time was up, I tossed in my greens and after 20 more minutes my soup was pretty much done. All it needed was some seasoning and a dash of red wine vinegar.
The soup was very hearty, more like a stew, and was full of delicious little nuggets. It didn’t even need any accompanying bread (I also skipped the finishing olive oil, though if I were having company over, I would probably add a drizzle to each bowl). My beans came out perfectly tender and the sliced andouille sausage added a lovely smokiness. The hit of red wine vinegar at the end is essential to the soup; it really brightens the whole thing up and gives it an underlying acidic tang that cuts through the mild, meaty beans.
This soup was definitely a keeper; it’s healthy, hearty, and flavorful. My slow cooker is also a keeper. With lots of chilly days still ahead of me, I can’t wait to try out more cozy, comforting, slow-cooker meals.