Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup
My daughter Lily recently told me about a new cookbook and Netflix mini series called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. In each episode, Chef Samin Nosrat, a Chez Panisse alum, travels to different, worldly locations and discusses the significance of these four elements in everyday cooking. Her approach is both charming and exciting as she fills you with her enthusiasm and passion for food while she is learning along the way. The show will heighten your awareness about the quality and balance of ingredients and the importance of them in cooking everyday meals. This soup recipe was inspired from the one in her book and is easy, comforting and delicious, it tastes like a visit to Tuscany right in your own kitchen! I hope you will take a look at the series too, I promise you will love it.
Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup
extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz pancetta or bacon, diced (optional)
1 medium yellow onion , diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 fennel bulb, quartered and sliced thinly (optional)
2 bay leaves
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups crushed canned or fresh tomatoes in their juice
3 cups cooked beans, cannellini or any white beans (2, 14.5 oz cans for ease), drained
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup (save the rind)
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
1/2 small head of green cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot until the oil shimmers. Add the bacon or pancetta if using and cook for a minute until it starts to brown. Add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel (if using) and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often until the veggies are tender and starting to brown. Make a well in the center of the pot and add a bit of olive oil and the garlic. Let it sizzle for just about 30 seconds without browning. Add the tomatoes and cook down for about 8 minutes. Add the beans and some stock (or cooking liquid if you made the beans from scratch) half of the parmesan and the rind, along with the stock, just enough to cover. Add another splash of olive oil (about 1/4 cup) stir and bring soup to a simmer. Add the kale and cabbage and more stock to cover as needed. Cook for another 20 minutes or more until the flavors have come together and the greens are softened. Adjust salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and the parmesan rind (i love to eat this!). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more freshly grated parmesan. Add cooked pasta or torn, rustic bread for a heartier bowl. This soup freezes well and keeps in the fridge for about 5 days...if it lasts that long.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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