Monday, January 30, 2012
After having a white bean and kale soup at work, I was inspired to make my own version. I was surprised at how much I lied the combination of beans and kale. I searched out the exact same type of beans that they used.
1/2 cup Italian Butter Beans (I used beans from Iacopi Farm)
1 bay leaf
1 stick rosemary
1/2 bunch of chard
1 medium yellow onion
2 carrots, thinly sliced
Cook the beans: Soak beans in cold water for several hours or overnight. The skin of the beans will shrivel and look like your hands when they have been in water for too long. Drain. Place beans in a pot and cover with 2-3 times their volume of water. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 stick rosemary. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the beans are nearly cooked through (about 1 hour for this type of beans), and then add 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 10-15 more minutes. Do not add salt until nearly the end of cooking, otherwise the beans will break down too much.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash the chard, and then cut the stems away from the chard leaves. Slice the chard leaves into 1/2 inch wide strips. Blanch stems and leaves separately. The leaves should only need a few seconds; the leaves should not need more then 3-4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to set the color and stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. (I didn't add salt to the blanching water, but next time I make this recipe I might blanch the chard in salted water, so that hopefully it will absorb some of the salt).
Mince one medium onion, and saute it in a pan with some olive oil until the onion becomes golden. Add the beans, chicken stock, carrot slices, and a pinch of white pepper in a soup pot. Taste the bean water; if it tastes okay, then add it to the pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
This soup needs to have some of its contents blended and added back into the soup in order for the flavors to meld. Either use a hand blender to blend only part of the soup, or let the soup cool slightly (be extremely careful with hot liquids in a blender), and add 1/4 of it (including some beans) into a blender. Blend, and then return the blended ingredients back into the pot. Taste and adjust the salt content. Bring to a boil, and add the chard into the soup just before service.