Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dinner Tonight: White Bean & Kale Soup

A couple weeks ago, I got together with some girlfriends for a ladies night to prepare for the release of Les Miserables by watching the 1985 cast PBS special. Like every single time we get together, there was too much food. Wine, spiced apple cider, cheese, bruschetta, homemade cookies (there's a recipe I used that has been a hit all through the holiday season that I will have to share with you on another day)... But dinner, oh man, dinner was AH-MAZ-ING. I'm a huge soup fan. An addict. Three bowls is never enough. And with as cold as it has been lately, nothing made me feel as cozy and ready to cry my eyes out to the Les Mis soundtrack as this recipe for white bean and kale soup did. I must have bothered the chef, my friend Kaitlin, for the recipe every time I saw her since that night and I'm surprised she didn't just stab me with a fork to shut me up. She repeatedly insisted that there wasn't anything to it and it wasn't until she sent the recipe to me today via test message that I realized that there really wasn't anything to it (I mean, really, how easy can it be if the recipe can be summed up in a single text?). This is a fool proof recipe that you can experiment with and customize until you get a recipe and flavor that's all your own.

White Bean and Kale Soup
(adapted from my lady-friend Kaitlin as adapted from YouTube's Gardenfork TV. This is a vegetarian soup, but you can use chicken stock instead if you'd like!)

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cans of white beans (with liquid reserved)
2 containers of vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch of kale, de-vained and chopped
1 block of hard cheese with rind, diced
1tsp thyme
1tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until golden brown/translucent.
2. Add the beans and the liquid from the can. I used Cannellini beans, but you can also use Great Northern or any other white bean that suits your fancy. Now, let's imagine I'm not broke-ass and own a pressure cooker (thanks for cooperating)... Raw beans can also be used, but you want to be sure to reserve about two cups of the cooking liquid to add to the pot-o-soup.
FYI: Organic canned beans don't have unpronounceable chemicals in the canning liquid, so I always opt for them.

3. Add vegetable broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
4. While the broth and beans are simmering, de-vain and chop the kale leaves into bite sized pieces and add to the broth. I used Dino kale, but you can really use whatever your little taste buds like.
Chopped Dino Kale. Have extra? Make Kale Chips or a Kale Salad with walnuts!

5. Add spices and salt and pepper to taste. I won't eat anything without garlic salt in it so I threw that in too. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes to one hour.

6. Add diced cheese and rind to soup and gently stir until melted into the soup. This will add flavor and creamy richness to the soup. Upon my friend's recommendation, I used a cheese I found at Whole Foods that after reciting the name over and over again while I cooked I of course forgot the name of it... It was a cheese similar to white cheddar with a cocoa rind and it is soooooo tasty. I almost ate the whole block before it made it to the pot. Anyway, use any hard cheese you like; Parmesan, pecorino romano, etc. But my friend insists that an interesting rind on the cheese will really add something special to the flavor of the soup.
I really really wish I could remember what the name of this cheese was because I kinda want to eat it for breakfast.

7. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy with your favorite loaf of bread. Please excuse my burnt garlic bread... Jeopardy got really intense and I kind of forgot about it until the smoke alarm went off.
Vegetarian White Bean and Kale Soup. Enjoy!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Requests? I'd love to hear your feedback.
 Please don't be shy and leave me a comment or contact me via e-mail. 
Happy cooking! :)

1 comment:

  1. You know that moment when you shoot straight up out of bed in a near sheer panic, proclaiming some nonsensical phrase because you couldn't remember it when you needed to?... Yeah. "Ipanema Beehive" is the name of the cheese. Go buy it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...