Cyn, I did add about 3 Tbsp. of heavy cream just before serving because I like the 'mouth-feel' of that tiny bit of cream, but it's just as good without.
This was really like a dump & simmer meal.....I broke up and browned a package of Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage and removed it from the pot. Then I added some olive oil and sauteed the sliced leek & 2 diced potatoes with about 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes for about 5 minutes. Added the drained can of cannelinni beans, the drained can of black eyed peas and the can of diced tomatoes, along with returning the sausage to the pot. Then I poured in 1 - 1/2 boxes of chicken stock and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, until everything was nice and soft. Finally, I added the sliced kale (stems removed & washed well) and let it cook for about 15 minutes. It would have been ready to eat then but since I made it early I just let it sit.
You could easily make it to your liking ~ I'll add my recipe for my 'faux' Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana and you can look at that recipe, too. Soups are so easy to personalize to have what you like.
Here's what supper looked like:
Zuppa Toscana (copycat of Olive Garden's soup)
Serves : 6
Prep Time: 0:35
1 lb. hot/spicy Italian sausage – crumbled (I used Johnsonville brand)
1 3 oz package Oscar Mayer (or similar brand) Smoked Bacon Bits
1 qt. water
1 – 32 oz. ‘box’ Low Sodium Chicken Stock
2 large russet potatoes – slice in half lengthwise and then slice into ¼ inch slices
2 garlic cloves – microplaned
1 med. onion – chopped (about 1/3 cup)
3 cups de-stemmed/chopped kale (cut pieces slightly larger than would fit on a spoon)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste (heavier on pepper – it doesn’t need much salt because of the bacon)
-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
-Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium high heat until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes – don’t overcook because it will be cooking an additional 10 minutes).
-Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes. (Skim any fat off the top that you can.)
-Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through. Do not boil.