Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kale and White Bean Soup

I wish I could say this beautiful bunch of kale came from my garden...but I cannot.  However, it did come from the garden of my very good friend Cheryl who so graciously gave it to me.  She had an abundance of kale in her garden this year and was kind enough to share.  I love having friends who garden!


I have this wonderful Kale and White Bean Soup recipe that I haven't made yet this year (since I didn't have any kale of my own).  But now I have an excuse to make it.  It is delicious, easy, makes a bunch and freezes very well.

Kale and White Bean Soup
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1 lb dried white beans, such as Great Northern, cannellini or navy
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon smoked, Spanish paprika
5 cups chicken broth
2 quarts water
1 (3 x 2 inch) piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (my secret ingredient for all my soups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf (not California)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (totally optional),sliced crossswise 1/4 inch thick
8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb kale, stems and center ribs discarged and leaves coarsely chopped

As you can tell from the list of ingredients, this soup is chock full of good, healthy things:  carrots, white beans, fresh herbs, (I even added a few white potatoes) and I used homemade turkey stock that I had in the freezer from Thanksgiving!  Homemade stock makes such a difference in soups and I try to use it whenever I can.  

OK...back to the recipe.

Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, one 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, 5-8 minutes.  Add garlic and smoked paprika and cook, stirring for one 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 to 1 hour.

A quick aside here about the cheese rind:

I save and freeze all the rinds from my Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and I add a hunk of rind to just about every soup I make.  It adds a depth of flavor and body to the soup that is simply delicious.  

Ok...back to soup:

While soup is simmering, brown sausage, if using, in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning once or twice.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Stir carrots into soup and simmer five minutes.  Stir in kale, sausage and remaining quart of water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until  kale is tender, 12-15 minutes.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  Sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.

This soup is much better the 2nd day.  Let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two before serving.  Doing so gives all the wonderful flavors in this soup time to meld and really come together.

Buon Appetito!


  1. This looks DELICIOUS! We love making soup- thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Hanni! It really is delicious and EASY! Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. I love your recipes :) This, like the others, looks incredibly delicious!

  4. Thanks, Cat :) This really is a good soup...great for a day like today!

  5. Diane: I'm so hungry after reading this post! It sounds and looks simply delicious! I can't wait to try the recipe. -Beth

  6. Boy, that looks delicious. I will have to try out your recipe.

  7. Hi Beth...I do hope you try this soup. It is easy and makes a bunch! Good to hear from you :)

    Thank, Donna. It tastes as good as it looks! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Hi Diane, I popped over to thank you for visiting my blog, but I think you have just done me an even bigger favour! I've never been a great fan of kale, but this recipe sounds delicious. Since kale makes a wonderful - and ornamental - plant for the winter veg garden, this is a major plus.

  9. Hi Janet! Kale is one of my favorite winter vegetables and you're right, it is so pretty in the garden. My favorite is Red Russian, with its dark green leaves and purple ruffles and it's delicious. So good to hear from you!

  10. I've grown so much kale but never knew what to make with it. That looks good!