Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cannellini and Kale Soup

You will swear this soup is laden with cream and butter, but you will be wrong.  That rich, creamy, ever so slightly garlicky flavor is from pureed white beans, onions, garlic, and thyme, with some kale thrown in for good measure.  It all combines to be less than 300 calories a bowl.  Sprinkle on some garlic chips and a few drops of garlic infused olive oil and you will have yourself a delicious and hearty treat.  So good that you might have a second bowl, maybe even a third, before you're quite suddenly reminded that you just ate three bowls of pureed beans, garlic, and onions.  So long sexy. 

This recipe is also from this month's issue of Martha Stewart Living.  As with last week's recipe, I can't find this recipe on her site (though she does have several variations posted).  Maybe the recipes in the current issue hit the website after the issue is off the shelves.  Either way, I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter (though I substituted dry beans for canned beans because I'm impatient).  Here it is with my slight variation:

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 onions chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
Salt & Pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced, plus 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (more if you like a little heat)
2- 16 oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
8 oz kale, stems and center ribs removed, leaves sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick

Heat 1 Tbs oil in large pot over medium heat.  Cook onions and carrot until just softened, about 5 minutes.  Season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt.  Stir in minced garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 1 minute.

Add beans to pot with water and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Discard bay leaf.

You can either puree with an immersion blender until smooth or ladle soup into a blender in batches and transfer the pureed soup into a fresh pot. 

Once the soup is smooth, bring it back to a simmer.  Stir in kale and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Simmer until kale is tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook sliced garlic, stirring often, until crisp and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer garlic to a plate using a slotted spoon.  Reserve garlic oil.

Divide soup among bowls.  Garnish with garlic chips, and drizzle with garlic oil.