Kale and White Bean Soup, perfumed by rosemary and bay, is a staple
on my kitchen table. It's simple fare for hungry families. Save time by
preparing the white beans in advance and stirring them into the kale
and white bean soup at the last minute.
2 cups white beans (such as cannellini beans)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
4 ounces chopped bacon (can use turkey bacon as an alternative,
or skip altogether)
1 medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
3 ribs celery (finely chopped)
8 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 branch rosemary
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 bunch kale (trimmed of tough stems and sliced thin)
extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
1. Toss the beans in a large mixing bowl, cover with hot water by 2 inches and stir in baking soda. Soak for 18 to 24 hours, changing the water once or twice. Drain and rinse well.
2. Transfer the soaked beans into a large stock pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until beans are tender - about 1 1/2 hours. Drain.
3. Melt butter in a large stock pot until it froths. Stir in bacon and cook until crispy. Stir in onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Stir frequently, and fry until fragrant - about 10 minutes.
4. Pour in chicken stock, add rosemary, bay and the rind of a piece of parmesan cheese. Simmer over medium heat, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, stir in paprika and kale. Cover and allow the kale to wilt in the residual heat of the soup for about 5 minutes. Salt as needed and serve with extra virgin olive oil.