04 April 2010
Easter Dinner: White Bean Soup
Since Easter dinner's guest list just included me and Shawn, I went a little simpler than I normally would. We had a lovely brunch with my friends this afternoon, so a light and easy supper was just what the evening called for. Being Easter, though, we had to have some ham!
I had a leftover ham bone that still had a lot of meat left on it from Christmas. I threw it in the freezer once I knew we couldn't eat any more and needed to use it up soon. I found a recipe on Epicurious.com that sounded perfect and helped me use up a few ingredients that were lingering in my fridge and cupboards.
Fast White-Bean Soup (adapted from Gourmet magazine)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14- to 15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes (chop up tomatoes to bite-sized pieces)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dried Great Northern Beans
1 ham bone* and about 2 cups of meat cubed
1 bunch of kale
Baguette, sliced on the bias
If using dried beans, sort and soak beans overnight. Cook beans as directed until tender.
Remove as much meat from the ham bone as possible, then throw leftover bone into a large pot with about 3 cups of water, or enough to cover most of the bone. Boil until flavorful (about 30 minutes). Defat the broth and set aside.
While ham is boiling, preheat broiler. Prepare kale by removing stems and center ribs, toss with a little bit of olive oil, until just covered. Put kale under broiler until just starting to char and crisp. Remove from oven (ok if it gets cold). Leave broiler going and brush tops of baguette slices with olive oil and throw under the broiler until crisp (flipping once during cooking).
In same pot used for broth, heat olive oil over med-high heat until warm and throw in garlic. Cook garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute) being careful not to over brown. Add tomatoes with their juices to oil/garlic mixture. Mix together, then add broth, ham, and beans. Let stew for about 10 minutes. If available, throw in a parmesan rind for extra flavor. After 10 minutes, add the kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with baguette slices and additional slices of parmesan and black pepper.
*If you don't have a ham bone, double the chicken stock.
I chose kale in lieu of arugula or romaine for its heartier flavor and texture. I also chose to use dried beans since they are cheaper and I can control the sodium content better, but if in a hurry, feel free to use canned.