Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Bean and Kale Soup

Hold it right there, readers. Don't go anywhere. I know the mere sight of kale might send some people running, but I promise you: I would never dream of giving you a recipe that didn't taste delicious. But, kale? You say. Yes, Kale, I say. 
I understand your hesitation. My relationship with Kale wasn't exactly love at first sight. My mother often forced  encouraged me to eat kale, and I wasn't keen on it. But now, because of this recipe, I'm madly in love with Kale. (It's true.) Give me a few minutes of your time, and I'm sure you will be, too. My kale-paradigm-shift happened one afternoon at the coffee shop across the street. Feeling guilty for a particularly indulgent blog post, I ordered Kale and White Bean soup for lunch. It was, after all, the healthiest option on the menu. Much to my surprise, it was light, delicious and full of flavor, with none of the bitterness I remembered from the kale of lunches past. The soup had a slightly salty broth and the kale had softened from boiling in the soup. The white beans added some much needed texture to the mix. 
As I was enjoying this fabulous soup, I remembered some things I'd been told by various kale-lovers. Kale is good  great for you. It is a source of Protein and Dietary Fiber and it's low in Saturated Fat and very low in Cholesterol. On top of all that, it contains great vitamins. Oh, also, it contains anti-oxidants and is considered an anti-inflammatory. For more on the awesomeness of Kale, go here. Or, just make the recipe I've posted here. 
White Bean and Kale Soup
By Alexandra Rogers 

1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small-medium onion will do)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale leaves, torn into small pieces
1 1/2 cups great northern/white beans *use beans from a can, here, not dried beans*
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
parmesan cheese rind (optional)

In a medium or large pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring once to coat with oil, cover and reduce heat to medium. Let the onions sweat for about 3 minutes, then add minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until garlic is fragrant but softened, and onions are tender and browning. 

In a separate bowl (or large liquid measuring cup) mix together vegetable broth and water. Pour about 1/4 cup broth mixture into the hot pot containing the onions, and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Do this twice. This process is called deglazing the pan. Add the rest of the broth mixture and bring to a boil. At this point, add the rind, if you're using it.

Once the broth, onions and garlic are boiling, add kale leaves. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, add salt to taste. Then, add the beans and boil, covered, for 5 minutes. Add a crack or two of pepper, stir and serve. Makes 5-6 servings of healthy, delicious soup.

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