Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tuscan Bean Soup

I guess I've been on a Pioneer Woman kick lately. And who can blame me? Her blog is a hoot, and her food is so, so good. I don't make her recipes a whole lot though, because they typically are not all that healthy. This soup is different. It's got very little fat, could be made completely vegetarian if you switch the chicken stock for vegetable stock and has about 200 calories a serving. It also contains a bunch of kale, which is anutritional powerhouse.

I had never tried kale before this and I wish it was more readily available here in Arkansas. I had to go on a hunt for it, and came up empty handed. I'm sure I could have found some at Whole Foods, but I was not in the mood to drive 30 minutes across town for kale, so I just used some frozen that I found in the freezer section of the commissary. I was surprised to find it tasted a lot like collard greens, which were a New Years Day staple in my household growing up. You know... black eyed peas, collard greens & cornbread on New Years Day for luck & fortune into the New Year. Anyways, I loved it. I enjoyed the texture more than that of frozen spinach, so I'll probably start using more of it from here on out.

The recipe also calls for the soup to be topped with shrimp sauteed in butter and tossed with fresh parsley. I omitted that completely. I'm sure it would have been delicious, but soup & shrimp don't really go together to me. Especially since we had shrimp the night before...

Anyways, the next time you're wanting to make soup, try out this recipe. It's fantastic!

Tuscan Bean Soup
(Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

  • 3 T. of olive oil
  • 1 Onion, finely diced.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup of white wine (I used the Naked Grape's Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cans of Great Northern Beans, or cannelini beans; rinsed & drained.
  • 2 t. of red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes; drained
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 16 ounce bag of frozen kale
  • Basil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add onions and saute until tender. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the tomato paste and and stir in. Cook for about two minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine, whisk together and get the cooked bits up off of the bottom of the pan. Let cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  4. Add the tomatoes; juice & all. (I like to break up my tomatoes before adding them in, so I poured the contents of the can into a bowl, broke them up with my hands and then poured them into the pot.)
  5. Since I used frozen kale, this step may not apply to you. If you use fresh, go read Ree's recipe. But make sure your kale is thawed. Wrap it in a clean cloth and wring out all the moisture the way you would if you were using frozen spinach. Then add it to the pot.
  6. Add the rinsed & drained beans and the chicken stock. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. This is a huge pot of soup, and I like salt. So I added about 2 t. of salt, one of pepper. Stir together, making sure to break up any clumps of kale, and let simmer (uncovered) for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Top with with Parmesan cheese shavings and some torn basil.

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