One of the many things that I love about receiving a CSA box, other than the extreme freshness, is that we have to adapt our menu to what we receive. It is part of the fun of it, kind of like being a contestant on the cooking show “Chopped.” This past week, we received 2 lbs of kale (dinosaur and maribar). Having made kale chips and stewing them down with chard into a southern style greens dish just recently, I decided to turn to the internet for some inspiration.
Gourmet magazine ran a recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup back in 2002 that had pretty good reviews so yesterday, after a slow morning of putt-zing around the house doing a few random chores and drinking my standard weekend 3 cups of late morning coffee before accomplishing anything, I set out to make a huge industrial amount of stock. I do this once a month or so (you can read about that here) and we were over due as we had used it all up in my last hankering for Cornbread dressing.
All of this preparation, set us up for a wonderful pot of soup that we adapted with the ingredients that we had on hand. One of the beautiful things about the time in between meeting the person you plan on being with forever and the time when you may share your life and home with little ones is the quiet moments that you get with your loved one making a wonderful dinner just for the two of you, catching up on each others lives at the end of the week, and enjoying the serenity of having that special someone to rely on. Just such a gift, I can’t even express how much I love being in this phase of my life.
As with any union, adaptations must be made and this soup is no different. We had two different kinds of kale, so we mixed it up and we had linguica, so we threw that bad boy in the pot too and of course, we used my homemade stock. What turned out was an absolutely delicious pot of soup with our own little twist to it. Try it out for yourself.
Kale and White Bean Soup
- 1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy ( I used cannellini)
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 5 cups stock
- 2 qt water
- 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf (not California)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 lb linguica, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 lb kale (dinosaur and maribar), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes.
While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.