June 10, 2011

Dreaming of Tuscany

I confess, when it comes to cooking I am a fly-by-seat-of-my-pants sort of cook. When to my great surprise my herb garden continued to prosper, I needed inspiration to maximize the newly found bounty. The answer: Tuscan White Bean and Kale soup.

The name alone transported me to a place where Chianti flows freely….

…marks of Etruscan civilization are at every corner….

…villas are basking in glorious sunshine and names of towns, like Cortona, roll off the tongue…

Photo: Traveltuscany.net

But I digress. Back to the soup. After perusing Epicurious for inspiration, here is my very own version:

Step 1: Soak a bag of humble white beans in water for a few hours. Or overnight. Whatever works. Before cooking, rinse the beans well - trust me, that is an important step that should not be omitted.

Step 2: Sautee onions in a soup pot with some veggie oil, just to soften. (Carrots would have been nice here too, but I wasn’t about to go to the shops!) Add the beans and pour stock. It’s a soup so you will need a lot of stock, veggie or chicken. Homemade stock is nice, but any low-sodium stock will do the job. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Add a bit of salt if needed

Step 3: Pour some Chianti or similar beverage (in a glass or a paper cup, not into the soup pot). Sip. Refill as needed.

Step 4: While the beans are cooking, it’s time to tackle the kale. Wash the leaves well, cut out the rough stems, and chiffonade the curly greens. Add kale to the soup when the beans are nearly cooked.  Continue simmering.

Step 5: Harvest some herbs from your garden and chop up the leaves. I used a lot of sage and oregano with just a tiny bit of lemon basil. Add the herbs to the soup towards the very end of cooking.

Now, slice up some crusty bread and serve! If the soup is only ‘meh’ and bland, add more salt and herbs. Or some lemon juice to brighten it. Or add some Chianti will rescue it (still in the cup, not in the soup). Simple peasant food at its best!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...