Heat the olive oil in a heavy 8-quart stockpot over high heat. Add the sausage and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and beans and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and the crushed red pepper. Season again with salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the potatoes and kale, season with salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove the bay leaves.
To serve, pour the soup into individual soup bowls and garnish each with a tablespoon of the mint. Allow the mint to steep for about 1 minute before serving with the bread.
Yield: 8 servings