Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup With Crisp Croutons
"Keep it simple, light, and not too costly" is the mantra of many cooks after days of holiday indulgences.
Delectable Tuscan-style Bean Soup with Crisp Croutons delivers on all these fronts.
A breeze to make, this Italian "zuppa" assembled with inexpensive ingredients including cannellini beans, carrots, onions, celery, and kale plus a hint of bacon, is satisfying, but not heavy. Count on 30 minutes or less of prep time, then an hour or more of simmering atop the stove until the vegetables and beans are tender.
You could make this rustic soup the centerpiece of a winter menu to serve before an outing to the movies or after an afternoon of skating or sledding. Pair it with a green salad and offer a bowl of Clementines and some biscotti for dessert.
Tuscan-style White Bean Soup with Crisp Croutons
2 cups dried cannellini beans
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely diced bacon
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced celery
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
2 dried bay leaves, broken in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 baguette slices cut 1/2-inch thick
3 cups (packed) coarsely chopped fresh kale, tough stems cut out and discarded
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
Place the dried beans in a colander and rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or grit.
Then place beans in a large heatproof bowl, and cover with 5 cups boiling water.
Set aside to soak for 1 hour, then drain beans in a colander.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until golden and crisp; remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until slightly soft, about 5 minutes.
Return bacon to the pot and add beans, stock, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Bring to a simmer, lower heat, and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead to this point. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
For croutons, arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 F. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush on both sides with remaining olive oil, then toast until lightly browned, 3 minutes per side. (Croutons can be prepared 4 hours ahead; leave uncovered at room temperature.)
When ready to serve, add kale to simmering soup and cook until it has wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove bay leaves; then season soup with additional salt and pepper if needed. To serve, ladle soup into 6 soup bowls and garnish each serving with 2 croutons and sprinkle with some Parmesan.
Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup With Crisp Croutons - Betty Rosbottom Recipes
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