What's better than making desserts through the holidays? Starting the New Year with some amazing soup recipes. So, let's start off the New Year with Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup.
My food adventure began on Friday when Dan, one of my co-workers, took me over to one of my favorite places in New Bedford, Sid Wainer and Son. Before we go in, there is a small fruit and vegetable store called Friendly Fruit in the same parking lot. They sell fruits and vegetable which have a short shelf life. I love it because we use the produce within a day or two and it is perfect. As I was getting some garlic, pears, and mushrooms, I came across a big bag of kale. My first thought was Portuguese Kale Soup. It would be a great dish to finish off the weekend.
Before we went grocery shopping, we looked for some Kale Soup recipes. Jeff grabbed one of his new cookbooks from Christmas, The Fresh and Green Table by Susie Middleton. Her recipe for Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup sounded delicious. We had all the ingredients...PERFECT!
This recipe was very easy, the ingredients were simple and the best part was the homemade chicken broth. I was cooking a roaster chicken to make chicken soup for later this week. When it called for 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, we used the homemade broth and what a difference that makes. I try to make my own broth when I am making chicken soup, but it never dawns on me to use the homemade broth in other things. We are so sporadic about using our broths, I need to remember to freeze it to use at another time. (I keep telling Jeff that if I could be a full-time blogger, we'd have homemade broth all the time. And I could freeze what we didn't use.)
One hour later, we were ready to serve the Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup. It smelled amazing and I couldn't wait to try my first bite. OK, it was AMAZING. The chicken broth, the kale, white beans...and the croutons with garlic and Parmesan cheese...had wonderful flavor. It ate more like a meal than a bowl of soup. And, you won't normally hear me say this, but it was light. After all the heavy meals through the holidays, it was nice to have something that was light yet filling. I might even use the word, "healthy".
January will be filled with a few more soup recipes, along with a hearty beef stew. We made it last week end and just need to get the ingredients down. We cook so often, we are putting together our own recipes but we aren't good about recording the specific amounts.
Have a great week and enjoy a bowl of Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup!
Ingredients for Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 ounces of pancetta, diced
1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
2 bunches of kale, stemmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (about 6-7 cups)
4 cups of chicken broth (we used homemade...definitely worth it!)
2 cups of water
1 - 15 ounce can of small white beans, drained
2-3 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Rustic Croutons (recipe after preparation)
1. In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, carrot and pancetta along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
3. Cover the pot and cook until the onion has softened between 6-8 minutes, be sure to stir occasionally.
4. Uncover and continue to cook until the vegetables have shrunk and they are slightly browned, another 6-8 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
6. Add the kale and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
7. Stir kale with thongs as it begins to wilt, mixing well with the contents in the pan. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the kale is tender, about 8-10 minutes.
9. Add the beans and cook uncovered.
10. Stir in the lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons and remove from heat.
11. taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with the Rustic Croutons and Parmesan cheese.
Ingredients for Rustic Croutons:
4 ounces of crusty bread, including crust, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place bread in a medium mixing bowl.
3. In a small skillet, heat oil and butter over low heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and break it up further by mashing it with the back of a spoon.
4. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the garlic has just begun to brown. (2 minutes)
5. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the pieces of garlic.
6. Drizzle the garlic oil over the bread cubes, stirring to mix, add the rosemary or thyme and toss again.
7. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for another minute.
9. Remove from oven, let cool and add to the Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup.
Written by Tricia White