It seems absolutely ludicrous to be posting a recipe for bean soup at the moment. It is SWELTERING in LA. It was 101 at my house yesterday, which is less than a mile from the ocean. And today it’s a lower temperature, but as humid as an orchid greenhouse. I would no more eat soup than put on a fur coat and run laps around an asphalt parking lot. But I’ve been meaning to post this forever and I’m aware that some places in the country are actually experiencing fall and cooler weather and maybe even soup.
I made this recipe up from the top of a take away container from the Zinc Cafe. It was delicious when we had their version in May and it was equally delicious when I made it last month at home. I added kale, because everything is better with kale, but other than that I just followed the ingredients listed on the lid.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale
Adapted from the Zinc Cafe in Corona Del Mar
2 cups (more or less) dried cannelleni beans
soaked overnight in plenty of filtered water
1/4 c olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 – 1.5 cups carrots cut to a small dice
8 (or so) ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-3 bunches tuscan kale, de-ribbed and blanced in salted water for a few minutes and drained.
2 springs rosemary
a lot of fresh thyme
leaves from a few springs of oregano
pinch of red chili flakes
salt and pepper
Beans: after soaking overnight, bring to a boil and then simmer until soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Once the beans are done, add 1 T of salt so the broth and beans taste delicious on their own. (Do not drain or discard broth).
Cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt until soft. Add rosemary, thyme, and oregano (all chopped however you like). Then add carrots and cook until mixture is soft and tastes good. Add salt and pepper if necessary (as Alice Waters always instructs) so the mixture tastes good as you go. When aromatics are tasty, add tomatoes and juice. It is my personal opinion that peeling, seeding and chopping tomatoes is basically kitchen heroics, and not altogether necessary. But it does make for a prettier, unseedy soup. And it’s really not that bad. Finally add a pinch of chili flakes. Cook until well mixed.
Add cooked beans and enough broth to make a good soup. If you don’t have enough broth, add more water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer. Stir in kale.
Taste soup. Add salt and pepper if necessary and garnish with parmesan when serving.
This is even better the next day, though you may have to add a bit more liquid after it has soaked in the refrigerator over night. I decided to skip the vegetable broth and instead use the bean cooking liquid, but you could make stock first if you’re so inclined.
Those of you in So. Cal, tuck this away for December when it’s cooler out. I promise it is delicious.