Monday, February 4, 2013

Bean and Kale Soup

Who knew that February 4th was National Homemade Soup Day? I had this recipe ready to go, and it turned out to be perfect timing!
Looking for a hearty cold-weather soup to make, one that will last you a few days? Do you have beans? Kale? Stock (chicken or vegetable)? Then you can make this soup! You can easily make this soup vegetarian or even vegan by simply using vegetable stock and omitting the sausage, or satisfy the meat eaters by using those ingredients. As with most soups, it's easy to alter the recipe to suit your taste buds.

Bean and Kale Soup (serves 6-8)
2T Olive Oil or Butter
2 Celery Ribs, cut to 1/4"
2 Carrots, cut to 1/4"
1 Onion, Shallot, or Leek, finely minced
1 Bay Leaf
1-2t Fresh Thyme (use half this amount if using dried)
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
6C Stock
1/2lb Dried Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed OR 2 Cans of Beans (I suggest white beans, but you can use whatever suits your fancy)
3 Smoked Organic Sausage, or 1 Smoked Ham Hock
1 Bunch Kale, juilenned
Salt and Pepper

- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Saute for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft.
- Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, til fragrant.
- Add stock, drained beans and meat, if using.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
- When beans are soft, remove bay leaf. If using ham hock, chop up the meat.
- Add the kale, and simmer until tender, about 2 minutes. Kale should remind bright green.
- Taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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