April 1, 2012

Cannellini Beans and Kale Soup

This vegetarian soup is hearty enough for winter, yet has enough different delicate flavors to work well with a light meal. Normally this soup, which features cannellini beans (white kidney beans), calls for cabbage among its ingredients. I enjoy cooked cabbage, but I don’t think it does so well as a leftover. In this recipe, I’ve substituted Lacinato Kale (dinosaur kale) for the cabbage. Dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale is a hardy cooking green with dark curly wrinkled green leaves. I really like the flavor it brings to this soup and it maintains a firm texture even when served the next day.
2 bunch of Lacinato Kale, thinly sliced
1½ cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can (14 oz) canned chopped tomatoes
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2¾ cups vegetarian stock
salt and pepper to taste
1. Drain beans and place into a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil to cook the beans. Skim off any foam and reduce heat to simmer until tender, about 1-1½ hrs. Drain the coooked beans into a bowl and reserve some of the water for later.
2. In another saucepan, heat the oil and add the following: onions, carrots, and celery and cooked over medium heat until softened. Next, add in the garlic and saute for another minute to mix. Add in half of the cooked beans together with the stock, tomatoes and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for another half an hour or so, stirring occassionally. Add the kale and stir to mix and cook for another 15 minutes until the kale are slightly withered.
3. Add the remaining cooked beans and enough of the reserved cooked water into a food processor. Blend or pulse to a smooth paste. Add this to the soup to slightly thickens and flavor the soup. You can add more of the reserved cooked water to thin it a little if necessary.
4. Spoon soup into warmed earthen bowls, drizzle some olive oil on top and serve immediately.
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