Tennessee Bean, Sausage, and Mixed Greens Soup

(recipe, James Villas)

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According to Villas, cooking in the hills of Tennessee during the 18th century focused primarily on roasted meats, country hams, stews, and hearty soups such as this, with dried beans, smoked sausages, and various greens. Cornbread would make the perfect accompaniment.


  1. 1½ cups dried Great Northern white beans
  2. 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 1 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
  6. 4 cups chicken broth
  7. 4 cups water
  8. 1 lb. turnip greens, rinse, stems removed and leaves shredded
  9. 1 lb. mustard greens, rinsed, stems removed and leaves shredded
  10. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  11. Dried red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Place the beans in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the beans stand 1 hour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and sausage, and cook until the vegetables and sausage are slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a large pot. Drain the beans, and add them to the pot. Then add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 hour.
  4. Add the greens to the pot. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and continue cooking over low heat, covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Serve in deep soup bowls.