White Bean and Kale Soup

So once again I am going to give a shout-out to my my favorite place to get groceries in Shanghai, kateandkimi.com, I never thought I would be one to order groceries online, but there are just certain things I can’t live without (namely, almond butter). After the three days of rain last week, and the imminent three more days this week, I decided it was time for a soup. I ordered some dry beans and kale and went to work, and the result was awesome. Enter: White Bean and Kale soup.

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Homemade soup definitely makes me think of my Mom, she makes killer Split Pea Soup, Turkey Soup, Chili, 15 Bean Soup, basically everything she puts in a pot tastes amazing. Trying to live up to her soup legacy is tough. A few months ago I made a Cauliflower and White Cheddar soup, and it was good, but not nearly as good as Mom’s soup. However, this White Bean & Kale soup is coming to claim the prize. It was perfect for the freezing cold, rainy weather. And also perfect for my midsection, especially after that trip to CaliBurger on Sunday.

When I was perusing Kate and Kimi trying to decide what to order, I saw they had dried navy beans, only a few dollars for a pound, so I went for it. What I got, however, were not navy beans, but large white beans. They look like giant lima beans, at first I was a little confused, but honestly they were even better than navy beans, and let’s be honest, throw a bean in a soup and I’ll eat it no questions asked.

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The ingredients list for this soup is really short, so you probably have all the stuff laying around your house. It also makes a pretty big batch, so keep that in mind if you are cooking for 1 (like me) you will be eating soup for a week.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb large white beans (or navy beans) soaked overnight
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, sliced in ribbons
  • 2 vegetable (or Chicken) bullion cubes
  • Approx. 5 cups of water
  • salt & pepper to taste

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How to:

  • Soak the dried beans overnight, in a pot of water about an inch higher than the beans, I put them in the fridge to soak so they wouldn’t start to ferment. (Check this post out from The Joy of Cooking for why and how to soak dry beans)
  • In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and cook the finely chopped onions, celery, and garlic for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the spices, and continue to cook another 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are soft
  • Add the beans and bullion cubes, and cover with water (I used 2 bullion cubes because mine are 1 cube for every 2 cups of water. You might have to adjust based on how much water you need to cover the beans)
  • Simmer for 1-1/2 hours, intermittently stirring and adding water as it starts to boil down.
  • Chop up desired amount of Kale, I used about 3 cups, and add to soup.
  • Let the soup cook for about 10 more minutes, until beans are tender.
  • Season with Salt & Pepper and serve with some crusty bread
  • Pig out.

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I had to continuously add water throughout the cooking process, but you might not want to. It really depends how much broth you want in the soup. Mind ended up being very thick, almost like a chili, so when I reheat it I will definitely have to water it down a bit. This soup really does taste awesome, perfect for a really filling meal.

It’s looking like it might be soup weather for the next few weeks here in Shanghai. The temperature is in the mid 40s, but it is raining nearly 5 days a week so it makes the air feel a lot colder. I am hoping it is a sign that Spring is finally coming. I can’t wait to spend some time outside. In other China news, my very best friend is moving to China tomorrow, only problem being he will be way south of Shanghai in Guangzhou. Maybe in April during “Tomb Sweeping Festival” (look it up, it’s real) I can make a road trip and show you guys another crazy city in China. Until then, enjoy the soup!

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