Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuscan White Bean Soup

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting a soup recipe. It gives me hope that cooler times ARE coming. Eesh, I am so OVER this 100 degree nonsense.

jamie said...

i almost always email your recipes to ben. just in case is is, you know, inspired.

Char said...

until sunday this was our weather too. suddenly fall has arrived here and i hope it reaches you too.

this sounds delish.

greenbeenfood said...

weather is warming here for us however i think i could send the chill off with one last soup! Tuscan white bean sounds perfect.

Unknown said...

This sounds great. I have a weird thing where I get really into hot soups in spring and summer. Last May when it was already sweltering here in Charleston, I ate lentil chili every day.

Caroline said...

I can't wait to make this on a cold day. It is in the 100's in Santa Cruz ... ohhh the heat. Hope all is great! xo

Sara said...

I can't wait until the weather cools down to try this out. I'm getting tired of eating salads and other warm weather foods!

amelia said...

its chilly here in texas, finally...can't wait to try this! looks so yum! thanks :)

The French said...

Gonna write this one down and as soon as the temp goes down, I'm on it! Thanks!

Unknown said...

hello from paris where the weather is actually perfect for that soup! did it last night with some "cocos de Paimpol" beans and it smelled so good that my in-laws stayed for dinner and we all enjoyed that delicious and tasty dish -thanks sharing for the recipe!

Kelsey said...

I feel your pain! I'm in the Phoenix area. I am amazed that in just over 2 years I feel relieved when it's "only" 105, b/c that's so much better than 114. Can't wait for a gust of cool air and making hot soups!

holly said...

It's a good day for soup in chicago so thank you from the windy city (or at least a chillier one) :-)

Whitney Lane said...

Making this for dinner tonight and I can already tell how DELICIOUS it's going to be! Thank you!!!

Astrid said...

I don't remember how I came across this post, but I'm so glad I did; I absolutely LOVE this soup!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Absolutely lovely on a chilly November day in Scandinavia.