I got this soup recipe from my Taste of Home Soup Book. It is really delicious and you could use kiebasa sausage in it; I used 1 pound of mild Italian Sausages that I removed the casing and proceeded as directed in the recipe. This makes a good sized pot--about 9 servings. The original made about 18 servings, and I cut the recipe in half. Therefore, I am giving you the half recipe and how I did it. I did not have canned Great Northern beans, but I had dried ones and used those.
America's Test Kitchen recommends cooking the dry beans this way: "We prefer the creamier texture of beans soaked overnight. If you're short on time, quick-soak them: Place 1 pound dried beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over, in a large heat-resistant bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well." Combine in Dutch oven 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 3 cups water. Heat to boiling, stir in the soaked beans, cover, transfer to 250 degree oven and bake until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be semi-firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I let them go for 1 hour and they were perfect.) Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. Keep beans and liquid separate until ready to make the soup. (If you want to make just the amount for the soup recipe, use only 1/2 pound or 1 cup beans and cut the broth in half--but use the same cooking times.)
12 ounces Italian Sausage
1 cup finely copped onion
2 ounces bacon bits (we got these at Costco and froze them and just take out what we need)
1 quart chicken broth (I had 5 cups left-over broth and used it all)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon each dried thyme, savory
1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and pepper (if desired)
15.5 ounces great northern beans or cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Cook the sausage with the onion until no longer pink; drain if needed. Add the bacon bits, broth, bay leaf, garlic powder, dried herbs, and cooked beans. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 30 minutes, until beans are tender. Stir in the chicken and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. NOTE: I did not add salt to this recipe, as the beans were soaked in it, plus there was salt in the meats, broth, and tomatoes. I also took the other half of cooked beans and put it in the freezer in a labeled container with left-over chicken broth to cover. Save it for another time when I want beans in a recipe--all I need to do is take them out of the freezer, let thaw in the refrigerator, and use.