Thursday, February 21, 2013

Greens and Beans - A Tuscan-Inspired Bean Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This fast and simple riff on the classic Tuscan Bean Soup has just saved my bacon. The quick bread I had intended to feature tonight was a complete and utter failure. It cemented to the no-stick pan in which it baked and when it finally released it looked like the debris on either side an earthquake fault-zone. Worse still, its taste and texture left much to be desired and I was not inclined to give the recipe another try. I did, however, still need something to share with you tonight and I needed it quickly. Fortunately, I had seen this recipe on Serious Eats at the beginning of the year and had made it for a family lunch at that time. I loved the recipe as it was written, but had made notes in the margin of my printed copy, and I thought tonight would be the perfect time to test the recipe with my changes in place. Save for the greens, this is a pantry soup that takes minutes to prepare. It comes very close to the Tuscan classic that inspired it, though it is much faster to make. As you skim through the ingredient list, please note that you'll want to save the almost gelatinous liquid in which the beans are packed. It lends flavor to the soup, but it contains sodium so you'll want to watch how much additional salt you add to the soup. When served with a crusty peasant bread and a bright green salad, you'll have the makings of a wonderful family meal. The soup keeps well but the greens will quickly lose that bright color that makes them so appealing. Unfortunately, green vegetables tend to lose their color quickly when cooked. This happens because cooking releases acids in the vegetables that react with chlorophyll, the substance that is responsible for their green color. The acids and heat destroy some of the chlorophyll, and by degrees those lovely greens turn gray. Blanching works in some preparations but it doesn't help much with soups. My advice - eat quickly. I know that those of you who try this recipe will be pleased. Here is how the soup is made.

Greens and Beans - A Tuscan-Inspired Bean Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Serious Eats

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced carrot
1 cup finely diced celery
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 (15-ounce) cans white beans (cannellini or great northern), with their liquid
4 6-inch sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped and stems reserved
1 (3-4 inch) chunk Parmesan rind (optional)
2 bay leaves
4 cups mixed baby spinach and kale
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

1) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and dried red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetable broth, beans and their liquid, rosemary stems, Parmesan rind, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer, add spinach and kale mixture, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
2) Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Use a hand blender to roughly puree a portion of bean mixture until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth (start on low speed and increase to high to prevent blender blow-out). Return puree to soup and stir to combine. Stir in cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3) Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with reserved chopped rosemary leaves, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve hot with crusty bread. Yield: 6 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Oatmeal Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

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Three Years Ago Today: Corn Salad with Edamame and Tomatoes


Ginny Hartzler said...

It is hard for me to think that you could ruin anything too badly! I am in love with the soup bowl!!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Soup is very comforting in many ways. It soothes the soul but it also uses up what we have in the refrigerator.

Unknown said...

I hate it when disasters arise in the kitchen! Not much you can do about them though... It's nice to be reminded that I'm not the only one that happens to :)
The soup looks and sounds delicious.. perfect for a cold and rainy night (like last night!).

Kim said...

lOve this kind of comfort food. So tasty and filling!

Big Dude said...

Good looking and healthy soup Mary - one I know we'd enjoy.

From the Kitchen said...

"Shop the refrigerator and pantry" has been my mantra for the last week or so! I actually have almost everything needed to make this soup (right down to Parmesan rinds in the freezer) except the greens. Thanks, Mary, for your delicious help in my clean up.


Susan Lindquist said...

Oh dear! Nothing worse than sticky pans that won't 'give it up'. But the soup! The soup! Such a classic! I am making your spinach soup today ... am thinking it will be an easy and comforting supper as I have to be out all afternoon helping a friend with drs. appts. and errands. I hope you sort out that quick bread recipe! Cheers!

Judy@Savoring Today said...

Simple soups are always a win in my book, especially when it's cold and you want something comforting. This looks wonderful!

Diane said...

I hate to say it but I am glad that other people do get the odd kitchen disaster :-)) Sorry.

This soup sounds very yummy. Keep well Diane


Oh my did you know I love this soup and I couldn't sleep last night and I saw your post, and decided that this morning I will copy it and I just did!! Thank you for the recipe and for your sweet visit. I did stored my finds already, lol.. Big hugs,

Martha said...

That sounds tasty! and I like the added greens in it. Perfect comfort food for the chilly weather we currently have! Sorry about the quick bread though, hate when that happens! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sutapa said...

soo delicious comfy soup....I can have it anytime and all time....

David said...

Mary, Great looking comfort soup! Too bad that the bread didn't turn out so you could have it with the soup... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Anonymous said...

I couldn't imagine you would have a disaster in the kitchen!! the soup looks so fresh, healthy and comforting!
Mary x

Bernideen said...

Looks like a fine soup to me!

Chiara said...

a perfect comfort food , sounds delicious Mary! have a nice weekend....

Tanna said...

We love. love. love. love. the green and bean variety of soups. So far, I haven't tried one that didn't make our socks go up and down. ;) We apparently have a weakness for this dish. ;) I love mashed cauliflower, too!! ;) Thank you, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

decocinasytacones said...

I love soups of any kind. This one warms your soul too. I love it
xxx Marialuisa

teresa said...

been there my friend. but this is a great recovery! we had soup tonight too, so perfect for this time of year.

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Yummy, Mary! It is so cold here... that soup looks delicious and very light! Sorry about your quick bread.. sounds like you had a mess on your hands!!
I'll be making this over the weekend. I thin I have all the ingredients even a bag of baby spinach!

France@beyondthepeel said...

I love putting parmesan rind in soup, but so rarely see it in recipes. I love this big bowl of healthy goodness.

mel said...

one way I get around the discoloration and unappetizing greens in leftover soups is to give a rough chop to say, baby spinach, and add a handful to the bowl and ladle the hot soup over. they wilt beautifully and any left over soup can be rewarmed with 'new' fresh greens added the same way. think it might work the same if the kale was julienned.

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