December 14, 2009

Cannellini Bean Soup With Kale

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Kale is my latest green leaf vegetable "flavor of the month". The dark green leaves are very good simply steamed and served with flaked sea salt and drizzled with lemon juice. They are also excellent baked into crispy chips, and of course added to soups. Kale not only tastes great, it's also very nutritious.

Bean soup with kale is the perfect comfort food during the cold months. It has been very cold the past 2 weeks; we had 6-inch snow 2 Fridays ago which took almost two weeks to melt completely. Where is this so-called global warming when you need it because we have 20°F nights for weeks now, our heater is working overtime and it's not even officially winter yet. It's okay though because I love the cold months, giving me a reason to cook and enjoy soups.

Cannellini Bean Soup With Kale
8 ounces dry cannellini beans
1 ounce pancetta or unsmoked thick sliced bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig each fresh rosemary and thyme
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
2 cups coarsely chopped de-ribbed kale
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • Clean the beans and soak overnight in cold water.
  • The next day, preheat oven to 250°F. Rinse the beans, drain, and set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and saute pancetta until golden brown. Add the chicken broth, water, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and beans. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, transfer into the oven, and bake for 1½ hours. Remove from oven, uncover and gently stir in the salt, then add the tomatoes and kale. Cover and continue to bake for another half to one hour or until the beans are tender. Discard garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.


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