Soup is one of my most favorite foods to prepare. I like the idea of it simmering away on the stove and having a good warm bowl at the end of the day. I don't think there is any kind or type of soup that I don't like.
1Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
2Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250-degrees. Cook sausage, in olive oil, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon until it loses its raw color, about 8 minutes.
3Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate and place in refrigerator. Add onion, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes.
4Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5Remove pot from oven and stir in sausage, cabbage and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
6Remove pot from oven and submerge oregano sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and oregano sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.