Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter Bean Soup

It may be the end of February, but we've been blasted with icy winds and cold temperatures in New York City, which makes me want to get cozy with a bowl of comforting soup. We had some basic ingredients on hand, so I whipped up some bean soup yesterday. (Spoiler Alert: it's even better on the second day!)

Winter Bean Soup
 If you eliminate the bacon or use a vegan substitute, this is a vegan recipe. For the best use of time, de-stem and chop the kale while the onions reduce. Ian gave this a "Straight A" when he tasted it. Little did he know it only took about 40 minutes to make!

4-5 strips bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried or fresh rosemary
bay leaf
6 cups vegetable stock
45 ounces canned cannelloni beans
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 bunch kale, steams removed and chopped coarsely (could use spinach here as well)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat dutch oven over medium-high heat and add bacon. Saute until the fat begins to render, then add the onion. Saute until the bacon is fully cooked and the onion starts to brown and soften. Add garlic, stirring about 30 seconds until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the rosemary and 2 cups stock.

Stirring occasionally, allow the vegetable stock to cook down until it's very thick and almost gone, almost syrupy. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pot.

Add the remaining vegetable stock, beans, basil, and chopped kale and reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally and bring to a gentle simmer to warm everything through and cook the kale. Once the kale is cooked (10-15 minutes) the soup will be ready to eat, but you could reduce the heat and allow to cook longer to better infuse the flavors if you have more time.

Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.