Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Fall! It must be time for soup. Cannellini and kale soup

As you know I was away last week. It turns out the the more you pay for a hotel room the less service you actually get. Funny how that works. I could have paid for internet service but they don't really tell you how much it's going to be until they want your credit card info. I wasn't willing to go that far. After talking with some of the other convention goers I'm pretty glad I wussed out. It seems the price was fairly dear. Their internet service must have been very fancy indeed.

I got home in time to do a little cooking this weekend. Much to my family's delight. Seems they got tired of their week long meat orgy. Let that be a lesson to them. One of the things I made was this cannellini and kale soup. It was hearty and yummy. I made a couple of other things but one was a salad and I'm pretty sure you all can toss lettuce, pears, blue cheese and vinaigrette together. So, we won't go there. The other was a pasta and broccoli thing that while edible didn't have that wow factor that I like to present (sometimes I do have failures. Curse you, Bon Appetit magazine) Now, this soup on the other hand, yum and yum!

I'd never had kale before and was a little leery of it. I had heard stories. Stories about how bitter it was and how tough it could be, etc. Really, I couldn't even tell you what it tastes like since there were so many other tastes going on in this soup. I do know it is like uber good for you (it must be, wikipedia says so :-) ) So what the hell, throw some in.

Doesn't it look all fall like? 
Fall just says soup to me. 
And it is a rather chilly 60ish around here.
Okay, I'll stop teasing you with our temps.

Cannellini and Kale Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 15 ounce can cannellini beans
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from the stalks, chopped
1 - 15 ounces can Italian tomatoes in juice
1 - 32 ounces of vegetable broth
3 or 4 (depending on your tolerance. Me? I went with 4) large cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons or the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, saute until the carrots start to soften. Toss in garlic. Cook for a minute or so. Don't let it burn. As Alton Brown (my new BFF) says; That is not good eats.

2. Drain and rinse the beans. Very important to rinse any canned beans. There is a ton of salt in those puppies. Toss into pot. Open the tin of tomatoes and without missing a beat toss those in also. No need to drain them. You want all that yummy tomato goodness. Like my mom always said; why buy the tomatoes with Italian stuff in them if you are only going to dump them down the drain (wait, that was something different. Something to do with cows and milk I think. I never listened). Anyway, pouring that lovely tomatoey juice down the drain is just silly.

3. Pour in the quart of veggie broth. I went with the low sodium stuff in the paper carton. It's what I had on hand. Water would work also but broth adds a lot of flavor.  Food and flavor are mates. You just don't want to break them up. If you used dried beans you could use the soaking liquid. I went the lazy route.Throw in the spices and the lemon juice while you are at it. FYI, all those spice measurements? They are all approximate. I measure things into the palm of my hand. So you may want to adjust them for your own tastes.

4. Now, to deal with that previously unknown veggie; the kale. Wash it up fairly well. I stripped the leaves from the thick stem. I don't know that this is all that important but it seemed like a good idea. Roughly chop. It doesn't have to be perfect and you'll see why in a minute. Toss into the pot.

5. Cover the pot, turn down the heat and let all these things simmer for a half hour or so. Give it a taste. Need more salt? Probably it will, if like me you used the low sodium broth. Toss a couple of pinches of salt in (I use sea salt that I buy at Costco in the big grinder thingy. So a couple three grinds is good) and the same with the pepper. Don't taste immediately, let the salt and pepper work their magic before you taste again. Say another 3 or 4 minutes. Time is not really a factor here. Sure, you don't want to cook it to death but 5 or 10 minutes on either side won't kill it.

6. The soup is now ready for it's final demise .Uh, adjusting and serving.  Important tip, fish out the bay leaf. That thing can taste nasty later. You've got two ways to go with this; one, you could leave it all rustic and chunky like or two, you could grab your immersion (or hand held if you call it that) blender to smooth it out. If you've got little ones that might turn their noses up at any one of the items in this soup (and I can safely bet they will) I'd opt to blend it all up. Plus it makes it a right purty color. As you can see from the photo I went blended.

7. Serve hot. Though, cold might not be too bad. This soup serves six smallish portions but because it is so hearty smallish is about all you need. I didn't do this (I didn't think of it until half way through dinner) but this would be wonderful with a piece of cheese toast floating on top of it, ala french onion soup. That would up the fattening factor but some things are just worth it. I couldn't tell you what the nutrition and fat content of this is but I'd think it would be high on the nutrition scale and low on the fat.

I hope you'll try this soup. It will make a great meatless meal, a Thanksgiving starter, or a covered dish bring along (like the company holiday party). Or best of all, for Meatless Monday!


PS: I'll tell you how the leftovers were tomorrow.
PSS: I adapted this recipe from one I saw in the new Bon Appetit magazine. Theirs looked like more of a pain in the tush then a soup recipe should be. It's soup, for goodness sake; not rocket science.


  1. Sounds and looks good. Welcome home. Cheers Michele!!

  2. Oh, my - that looks lovely. I'd use some homemade chicken broth myself, but darn, just reading it made my stomach growl.

  3. Thanks for simplifying their recipe. I often find that they're a little too fancy for me. It does look rather fall-ish and wonderful!

  4. I love soups and stews. Especially in the winter. They're good comfort food.

  5. Looks freezable and sendable. Hint. Hint.

  6. Just made this for dinner on the spur of a moment. We didn't have lemons, so I used white wine. Booze is a citrus substitute, right?

  7. The problem using brassicas with anything like soup is the over cooking of them and drawing out the bitter iron.

    I've been using beans about three/four times a week. But I'm having the devils own job lifting them to something flavoursome.

  8. Ben & I Love kale. I'll post my recently found amazing kale & red potatoes recipe. You guys will love it. I can get Ben to eat this soup even though it has beans in it if I blend it up. Never use the liquid from soaking beans or from the bean can. That's what causes most of the flatulence.

  9. Love the recipe and suggestions, but when I don't have time to comb my hair, let alone create a fab soup, I use frozen Tabatchnick soups -- wish they were carried ats Costco and other national retailers. Check them out at

  10. Ok, that looks delish. You would be proud of me, I've been making just about everything from scratch around here.....