The perfect, hearty soup for a cold, rainy day, this white bean and chorizo soup with spinach is a flavorful comfort food that you’ll want to make again and again.
Now that the cooler weather has arrived, I’m craving more soups and stews and have been making lots of homemade stocks and homemade bone broth. Eating broths plain, though, can get boring.
The other day I decided to throw together a soup with what I had sitting in my fridge at home. Of course, with me living in Spain now, what I have in my fridge might be a little different than what you normally have in yours. I just happened to have some chorizo sausages, and love the way they add flavor to soup.
Choosing your ingredients
Which chorizo should you use?
To give this soup a Spanish flair, I think Spanish chorizo is the best option for this soup. Chorizo sausage here in Spain basically always has the same ingredients: pork, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika. The smoked paprika, also known as pimentón de la Vera, can be spicy or mild, but it’s the main difference that sets it apart from Mexican chorizo which lacks the smoky flavor. Mexican chorizo can also be beef based or combine the two types of meat.
Hopefully, you can find Spanish chorizo where you live. If not, it is actually quite simple to make your own Spanish chorizo! (Yes, even though I can easily find it here, I like to occasionally make my own when the weather cools down in fall and winter.) That can take a while though, and I realize that not everybody will want to make their own chorizo. So, I’ll give you another idea. You could use ground pork mixed with salt, garlic, and smoked paprika and form balls, like meatballs, with the mixture and use those in your soup. (You can follow the ratio of ingredients in my Spanish chorizo recipe.)
Adding in the greens (Spinach or Kale?)
I also have to admit to not craving as many vegetables in winter, except for the winter squashes that can be made into vegetable purees like my roasted pumpkin soup. Salads are cold and unappealing to me when the weather is also cold. I much prefer roasted veggies and adding vegetables to soups.
Spinach is the perfect addition to a soup like this one; it wilts and gets smaller so you can add quite a bit of it. It also adds vitamins and great color too! If you prefer, you can add kale instead. It’s a superfood that also packs in a nutritious punch!
What about the white beans?
If you’re in a hurry, you can choose canned white beans. Not only will you not have to pre-soak, but you won’t need to cook the soup for as long. That said, I really prefer to plan ahead and make everything from scratch. Not only is it cheaper, but you can avoid the possible endocrine disruptors found in canned foods. My suggestion is that if you are buying pre-cooked, choose jars over cans!
In my region of Spain, one of the typical rice dishes is called arroz con habichuelas. It is a rice dish which includes white beans and chorizo and isn’t served “dry” like a paella, but rather retains some of the broth like a soup.
This soup could be made in a similar way, adding in some rice. If you want to make this soup with rice, you should add in the rice towards the end, when you have 20-40 minutes left in the cooking time (depending on the type of rice you are using). You’ll also have to add more broth or water.
White Bean and Chorizo Soup with Spinach
I love this soup on a cold, rainy day. It’s filling and warms me up. I hope you enjoy it!
- Put the white beans to soak in water overnight in enough water to cover them by several inches. They will double in size, and you should end up with around 4 cups of soaked beans.
- Strain the water off, and rinse the beans, and add them to your pressure cooker with around 4 cups of your stock or broth of choice. You should have the level of liquid above the level of the beans. If not, add a little water to your pot.
- If you will be making this on the stove, a lot of the water will evaporate. When I made it on the stove, I suggested having around 7 cups of liquid (stock plus water) to compensate for that fact. Just make sure you have enough liquid to cover the beans, and add in water as needed to keep them covered.
- If using the pressure cooker, use the setting that it has for legumes, or the one for soup. On my pressure cooker the legumes setting lasts around 35 minutes once the heat level has been reached, and the soup setting lasts for 30 minutes. We will be cooking the beans with the chorizo and spinach for a couple of minutes after they are finished cooking, so you may choose to cook them less time if you like the beans having a more solid consistency.
- If using a pot on the stovetop, simmer for around an hour and a half and check the beans for tenderness. Add in extra water as needed to maintain the desired consistency.
- As the beans are finishing up, I like to slice the chorizo and pan fry it in a medium to large pan on the stovetop. I then pour off some of the released fat as I have found that it only forms a layer of grease on the soup, and doesn't really add more flavor. Once the beans are finished, I add them to the pot and simmer it for a few minutes with the chorizo to incorporate its flavors into the soup.
- If making on the stovetop, I don't usually bother using another pan and just add the chorizo directly to the beans on the stovetop as soon as the beans are mostly tender. I then let them simmer together for 5-10 minutes more to allow the chorizo to cook and add flavor to the soup.
- Shortly before serving, add a few handfuls of spinach to the soup. Let it wilt and add some more if you like.
- Taste the soup and add seasonings (salt, pepper and paprika) to taste.
- Serve immediately.