Beans and greens mean winter to me. And this hearty soup filled with creamy red beans, bitter mustard greens, and acidic tomatoes can only be elevated with Cajun green onion pork sausage. I love the depth of flavor and spice in this Red Bean, Mustard Green, and Green Onion Sausage Soup. And I love the memories it brings back.
My momma grew up in Detroit, Michigan during the Depression years and was working there during WW II when she met my dad. In those days, the auto manufacturers of Detroit were focused on the military, and my parents both worked in an aircraft plant turning out B-29 Superfortress bombers. The pride in their role in winning the war was told to me in countless stories.
And the sacrifices they made were many. The war years were a time when food rationing was a way of life. As my momma tells it, expensive cuts of meat were a rare occasion, but a Yankee bean pot was always on the stove. Eventually, she and my dad made their way to Louisiana where Southern greens and hand-made sausages joined in the bean pot. Over the years, I’ve added a few Cajun touches to their bean pot, and this Red Bean, Mustard Green, and Green Onion Sausage Soup has become a tradition in our family.
More than Mondays, red beans make their appearance in Louisiana kitchens all week long. And with this recipe, it’s time to take a pot of beans and reinvent them with the building blocks of a flavorful soup. This is a thick and hearty soup—more like a chowder—that’s a one-pot dinner. Just add cornbread, and this is a fitting, and filling, end to a cold evening.
My red beans always start with the Cajun trinity—onion, celery, and bell pepper—and are pumped with the flavor of pickle meat. Pickled salt pork is the magic flavor enhancer of the South; with its slight acidic flavor, it is a universal ingredient in every Southern kitchen dating back over 200 years. There’s not a Creole cook alive that doesn’t flavor a bean pot with pickle meat, and when I can find it, pickled pig’s feet is my choice.
So, put on a pot tonight, throw another log on the fire, and cozy up to a steaming crock of bean soup. Just combine those creamy red beans with the bite of mustard greens, the zest of tomatoes, and Cajun pork sausage. My Red Bean, Mustard Green, and Green Onion Sausage Soup is a hearty, meaty Creole-inspired dish that will warm you up.
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil
- 1 ½ pounds raw pork sausage, such as Cajun green onion
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 pound pickled salt pork
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and picked over, soaked overnight in water
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (10 ounces) mild diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Rotel
- 4 cups chopped mustard greens, woody stalks removed
- 1 cup diced green onion tops
- Cornbread, for serving
- In a large cast-iron pot over medium-high heat, add the grease. If in casings, remove the sausage and add to the pot in thumb-size chunks. Cook the sausage until just beginning to brown and add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt pork, and bay leaves, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add the beans to the pot, along with the chicken stock and enough added water to cover them. Turn the heat to high until the liquid reaches a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and stir. As the dry beans soak up the liquid, check the level, and add more water so that the liquid comes above the top of the beans. Add the Cajun seasoning along with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Cover the pot, and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Uncover and stir again. The beans should be plump as they soak up the liquid. Add more water if needed. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- At this point, the beans have cooked for 1 hour and should be fully cooked. With a measuring cup, scoop out 1 cup of beans with their liquid and pour into the container of a blender. Blend on high speed until the beans are pulverized and have achieved a creamy texture. Pour the “bean cream” back into the pot of beans and stir to incorporate. Add the Rotel tomatoes, mustard greens, and green onion tops; cover the pot and continue to simmer for 1 hour longer. Turn off the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
- Ladle the soup into bowls with a portion of sausage and greens in each. Hot cornbread to sop up the juices is the ideal accompaniment.
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