White Bean Soup
In the winter months, I live for a hearty soup with good crusty bread. I find this type of soup incredibly satisfying and comforting. You really feel warm all the way through to your bones! The trick is very good chicken stock. It also helps to have quality beans. I tend to think because it’s very simple, every ingredient really matters. Double the recipe and freeze some for later! The soup is always better the next day so feel free to make it ahead of time.
White Beans Winter Soup
1 quart of cooked white beans, cannellini or gigante
1 quart homemade chicken stock, or buy from your local butcher
2 tb olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped (optional)
1 large zucchini and/or 1 large carrot, diced ¼” thick (optional)
1 small bunch of collard greens, chard or escarole, de-stemmed and chopped 1” pieces
1 dried red Calabrian chili
Salt and Pepper
If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of water.
Bring a stockpot or heavy dutch oven to medium heat, add the olive oil, and sweat the chopped garlic. If you love onions, add a chopped yellow onion at this point. Saute for a few minutes until the garlic is cooked and the onion is softened. Add your washed and sliced collard greens. Stir a minute or two and then add ½ cup of chicken stock. Cover for 2-3 minutes until the greens are steamed. Add the zucchini and/or carrots and continue to stir all together. By this point your chicken stock should be mostly gone and your vegetables should be softer but not cooked through. Add the white beans and cover by 2” with liquid, adding the remaining 3 ½ cups of stock. Add water if you need to as well. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the chili and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Taste your soup, and add salt and pepper to taste. Are the beans soft? If not, continue to cook with the lid on until they are cooked through. Leave it covered until ready to serve.
In the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and grated parmesan. Serve with good crusty bread! Maybe a glass of red wine. Some gooey, stinky cheese. Eat on the floor around the coffee table or by a fireplace. OK, you get it.