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Posts tagged rancho gordo

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My Favorite Soup

cutting up kale

This is how you prepare kale: wash, fold the leaves in half and slice out the ribs, chop the leaves.

In other places, people are making things with summer squash and tomatoes and I am still making things with kale, because I live in Maine.  It’s okay.  I’m actually secretly making things with summer squash, too, because I bought them at the grocery, and I feel guilty about it, and I will regret it when squash season kicks up and I think I will die if I have to salt and drain another fucking zucchini, but whatever.  Kale.  Still in season.

That’s okay, though, because I love kale and if I get a big batch of it, and if the weather isn’t too hot, I can make my favoritest soup ever.  Which is this one: Kale and White Bean Soup.  From Gourmet.  Naturally.*

It makes a gigantic amount of soup.  But the soup freezes really nicely, and it’s also delicious. 

This also allows me to use some of the beans that I bought on whatever buying binge I most recently went on at Rancho Gordo.  I cannot say no to the hot lady in their logo.  They’re really good beans, by the way.  Which brings me to the other point that I enjoy about this soup— it features dried beans, rather than canned.  You could swap in canned and the whole operation would be shorter, but I feel more like I’m cooking if I start with dried beans.  And they’re cheaper and have a better texture.

Back to the recipe.

Best Ever Kale and White Bean Soup

  • 1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy (I use Rancho Gordo’s Yellow Eye Beans which I think have a little bit of a smokey flavor)
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 qt water
  • 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (not California, according to the recipe, but I just use whatever variety I have)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (optional), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick. This is not considered optional in my household. 
  • 8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped.  Again, I use whatever variety of kale I have.

1. Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.  This step is to reduce the beans/gas effect.

2. Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 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.  Depending on how fresh your beans are and the type of beans, it may take longer.  It could even take quite a bit longer.

3. While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.

4. Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Delicious.  It honestly makes a whole meal.

Also, check out how hydrophobic kale leaves are!  It’s not because they’re coated with anything, it’s because the surface of the leaf has nanometer-sized bumps that keep the water from adhering.  The same thing happens with collards, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

* Again, seriously Conde Nast?  You’re launching PARADE FOOD, a food magazine by the one magazine that I would actually rather recycle than read, but couldn’t possibly keep the best food magazine in the world around?  Do you even know how much I enjoy Ruth Reichl?  A LOT.

Filed under kale rancho gordo soup Why do you want to ruin my life Conde Nast?