I have been a mess as far as meal planning goes this week. When nap time rolled around the other day, I hadn’t a clue what I was going to cook for dinner. That’s an issue because, for clingy toddler reasons, I generally prepare as much of the meal during nap time as I can, and then finish it off right before we’re ready to eat.
I did a little quick thinking. Something I’ve had posted on my board to try for a while is some variation of kale and white bean soup. We have kale growing like weeds in the garden, and I always try to keep dried white beans on hand, so the staples were there. I found this recipe on Epicurious, which calls for a quick soak of the beans (which only takes an hour) rather than an overnight soak.* Perfect!
*Of course, you can always just do a quick soak instead, but I never seem to think of it.
I put the beans in to soak, but before I knew it, nap time (such as it was that particular day, which never seems to be great these days) was over. So, I ended up making the soup in fits and starts as toddler mood swings (which tend to be dramatic in the absence of a good nap, I fear) would allow. Good thing it’s a fairly non-demanding recipe.
For the effort expended, this is definitely a keeper. The toasts are a must, since they really elevate this to hearty meal status.
- ½ lb dried cannellini or other white beans
- 1 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece parmesan rind**
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 1 small bunch kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely torn
- 4 thick slices rustic Italian bread
- 4 oz shredded mozzarella
- Cover the beans with water by 2 inches in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for an hour. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse.
- Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the drained beans, vegetable stock, 2 cups of water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are just tender, about 50 minutes. If the liquid level drops too low, add additional water.
- Stir the carrots into the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kale and the remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, make the toasts. Preheat the broiler and Set the slices of bread on a baking sheet about 4 inches from the heat. Toast until golden, about 1 minute, and remove. Turn the slices over and sprinkle with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is a little browned and hubby, about 1 minute more, and serve with the soup.