When the brisk, slightly chilly breezes of autumn begin to whisk around, I start to crave warm soups made with all kinds of cold weather garden ingredients, such as squash, beets, cabbage, and in the case of this soup, kale.
While kale has become more popular as a vegetable, many people still remember the tough curly kale that historically was only used to garnish dishes in restaurants and, if you were brave enough to try it, was pretty tough to chew; curly kale is still probably my least favourite variety of kale. So what do I recommend? Dinosaur Kale is definitely my favourite. It is also called Tuscan or Lacinato Kale, and while the dark, green colour of its leaves practically ooze vitamins and minerals, its texture is uniquely artistic and its taste, excellent. My runner-up favourites are Russian and Siberian kale, which both have a nice texture, but to my taste, a little less flavourful.
This soup can be enjoyed on its own for those of you who are vegan or gluten-free, but for a more eye-catching presentation you can top it with Garlic Parmesan Toasts. I tend not to melt the Parmesan, as it doesn’t melt particularly well. If you do want a melted cheesy topping, I suggest you try another cheese such as a Gruyère, but you could also try Cheddar if you have nothing else handy.
This dish will warm you up from the inside and leave you curiously content. So curl up with a fire and a warm bowl of this soup on a damp or cold winter evening. Ah! There’s nothing better …..
Kale and White Bean Autumn Soup
To warm you up on a cold evening.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 ¼ lbs. potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 – 14 oz. cans of cannellini beans or other white bean
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
- ½ teaspoons salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoons pepper or to taste
- ¼ teaspoons nutmeg, ground
Garlic-Parmesan Toasts (optional)
- ½ baguette
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
Put olive oil in saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and slightly caramelized, anywhere from 5-10 min; add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and add potatoes, cooking about 10 min. Drain and mash one can of the cannellini beans and add to pot. Stir and then add remaining beans and kale, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer another 5-10 min. making sure potatoes are done. Ladle into bowls or, if you are adding the Parmesan toasts, see following …..
Parmesan toasts: Cut baguette into rounds. Brush each round with olive oil. Put on a tray and broil in the oven, watching to make sure they brown nicely but don’t burn. Remove. Brush each toast with a clove of garlic. You can then either arrange the toasts on top of the soup in a decorative bowl for presentation or garnish each soup dish with a toast or two. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Food For Thought: “Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus