Hearty, healthy and affordable, this soup is very satisfying and what is needed on a fall or winter evening. Beans, potatoes and bread provide an almost creamy texture and the kale gives it an herbaceous edge. The soup you need right now.
Cooking beans from dry2hrs
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course, Soup
Keyword: beans, bread soup, Hearty, italian, soup
Servings: 63-cup servings
Author: Kiki Simpson, Healthy Sexy Kitchen
½lb.dried white beanscannellini are traditional, I used Mayocoba beans
1teaspoonItalian seasoning or Bouquet garni
⅓cupextra-virgin olive oil
½large fennel bulbdiced, optional
½teaspoonblack pepperfreshly ground
2mediumpotatoesI used Yukon gold - diced
½lb.lacinto kaleroughly a bunch - feel free to substitute Swiss chard if that's what you have - sliced into bite-sized pieces
½headcabbagesavoy or green, roughly 3 cups, sliced and chopped
1Roma tomatodiced - or ½ can tomatoes
6ouncesrustic breadpreferably stale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1Vegetable Bouillon see my recipe, or use your own - optional
5cupswateror if not using bouillon, can use half water and half vegetable or chicken stock
Cook the beans
If using canned beans, skip this section. Just drain and rinse 2 14 ounce cans of white beans and add in Step 5 with the bread.
You can either soak the dried beans in water for several hours or overnight, or if you haven't planned ahead, just put the beans in a pot with about 4 cups of water. Add the bay leaves and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Keep simmering until cooked. This can take anywhere between 1 and 3.5 hours depending on if you have soaked and how old your beans are. You want them to be mashable, but not falling apart. I usually do this a day ahead, store in the same pot and warm them the next day.
Make the Soup
Prepare the onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, potatoes, cabbages and kale. Set aside.
When the beans are cooked, remove about 1 cup of beans and smash well with a fork or potato masher. Drain the whole beans remaining and add the water to the mashed beans. Set aside the whole beans.
In your soup pot, prepare the soffrito by heating the olive oil and adding the onion, stirring and sauteing for a minute. Then add the celery, carrot and fennel (if using) and cook over medium heat until soft and slightly golden, about 5-6 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning.
Add the thyme, salt, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and paste, the bean puree and water, parm rind, along with the vegetable bouillon and additional 5 cups of water or broth. Cook over low heat, covered, for about 45 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and thyme twigs at this point if you are worried about forgetting. Add the previously cooked whole beans (or canned - drained and rinsed) - and stir and cook five minutes. Add the bread (cut into pieces) stir well and cook for another 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
Let the soup sit for 10 minutes up to a few hours if eating the same day. Otherwise let it cool and refrigerate, ideally overnight, before reheating the soup over low to medium heat until hot.
Serve sprinkled with black pepper and drizzled with awesome olive oil. Consider making the lemon, garlic, rosemary oil below.
Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon Olive Oil
In a clean jar, add ½ cup olive oil, 2 large lemon peels (use a vegetable peeler) from one lemon, and 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped (feel free to use more garlic if you like). Cover and let sit at room temperature until ready to use. Best if it sits a few hours. If you have leftover, store in the fridge for up to a week and let it come to room temperature before using.
This soup is not traditionally served with grated cheese, but have at it if it makes you happy!