This humble soup is packed with healthy ingredients. It holds well and tastes even better the next day. If you have leftover soup, do as the Tuscans do and add stale whole-grain bread to the pot when reheating it.
Tuscan-Style Bean & Kale Soup
1 cup (7 oz./220 g.) dried borlotti or cranberry beans, soaked and drained
1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 1/2 lb./250 g.)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz./875 g.) whole plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pick over the beans for stones or grit. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water and drain. Put the beans in a bowl and add fresh water to cover by 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm.) Let soak for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Drain the beans and transfer them to a soup pot. Add water to cover the beans generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer gently until the beans are tender, 1-1 1/2 hours. Drain the beans, pouring their liquid into another pot or a heatproof bowl. Set aside the beans and liquid separately.
Separate the stems from the kale leaves. Stack the leaves, roll them up lengthwise, and cut the leaves crosswise into strips about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) wide. Discard the stems or save them for another use.
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until the onion and celery are translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the kale and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and, using your hands, crush them into small pieces. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot and stir to combine.
Measure the bean cooking liquid and add water as needed to total 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l.) Add the beans and the cooking liquid mixture to the pot along with the bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer just until the beans are heated through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed individual bowls and serve right away. Serves 8.
Find more simple, nourishing recipes in our cookbook Good for You, by Dana Jacobi.