Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kale and White Bean Soup

Welcome back, o kale! While you've not exactly been absent from the market until now, it really isn't until the first cold snaps hit that I crave your deeply-flavored leaves. Ok, no more apostrophe; it's starting to feel a little contrived.

Kale is one of those foods that is so nourishing and satisfying that it almost has to wait for winter. Yeah it's good for you, superfood, yada yada, but given some time, I also think you can come to love kale on its own terms - try it sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and served over rice. You're welcome. And if you're trying to save money, it's a lot of nutrition for not much money. (Pro tip: steamed, it also freezes well.)

Here I used onions from Ly Vu Produce, red potatoes from Bennett-Burke Nurseries, and kale from Whitton Farms. The recipe made enough for three meals for me.

Kale and White Bean Soup
adapted from a recipe on The Kitchn

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 small red potatoes, skin left on and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 1/4 lb kale, halved and chopped into thin ribbons
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme (recipe, when halved, recommends 1/2 tablespoon, which I found to be too much)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 rind Parmesan cheese, if you have it
1/2 can great northern beans OR 1/2 cup of dried beans, soaked overnight, then cooked
salt and pepper to taste

Put a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, and then add the potatoes, about five minutes. Saute until the edged of the potatoes start to go transparent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add 1/4 cup vegetable broth and the kale to the pot. Stir to coat everything with broth, then cover with the lid. Stir the kale every three minutes, until it is barely tender, adding more broth as needed if the pot becomes dry, for a total of about 12 minutes.

Add the rest of the broth, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, cheese rind, and 2 teaspoons of salt. If the veggies aren't quite covered, add extra broth or water. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the kale is completely tender and the potatoes cooked through. Add the white beans. Remove bay leaf and cheese rind. Taste for seasonings and salt - mind definitely needing some liberal grindings of pepper.

Serve this soup with some more Parmesan cheese on top, and crusty bread would be awesome as well. I had this with butter-braised cabbage, also from Ly Vu Produce.

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