A great, classic soup. I first made this soup with ingredients from my garden. I had a surplus of kale and tomatoes late one summer and had already enjoyed just about every salad and soup I could think of featuring them. As with most of my recipes, I took a quick inventory of what I had on hand, pulled a little haul out onto the counter and began playing. A little garlic, a spare can of white beans and an old parmesan rind and this masterpiece was quickly born.
It is perfect for any season and can be adapted to use fresh or canned tomatoes, depending on what you have access to. I will say, if you have fresh tomatoes, the flavour is even more rich and delicious! If not, not to worry - the real flavour booster here is the parmesan rind. I am always surprised at how many people don’t yet know this trick. My mum has been doing this since we were little to add rich flavour to soups, stews, and sauces. I am a huge advocate for stretching the use of ingredients and finding multiple uses for kitchen items. This is the perfect example. It turns out that something that may have been discarded when the cheese had been grated, is the ultimate secret ingredient to complex flavour in a short amount of time. I store rinds in my freezer any time we finish a chunk and pull them out as needed. You will not believe the flavour. So savoury and rich - a very developed low-and-slow flavour that is achieved in less than half an hour.
In the spirit of using the whole of your ingredients, use your kale stems! Save yourself the time (and waste!) of stemming your kale and simply chop it up finely. You can add more or less kale here depending on your taste, but it wilts down significantly so I would suggest adding more than you think. On that note, soups are the best way to use up green veg on its last legs. I often throw in all kinds of greens in the last few minutes of a soup for a hit of green and a use for otherwise sad veg.
I always suggest trying out the recipe as is first, but always encourage creating your own spin. Take an inventory of your kitchen and use this as a launching off point - you never know what deliciousness may be in store!
TOMATO, KALE & WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH PARSLEY
Makes 1 large pot
2 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 bunch kale (12 kale leaves), finely chopped
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes or 5 cups (5 large) tomatoes, diced
1 parmesan rind
Large handful fresh parsley
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, but not browned.
Add white beans and kale and stir to coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add tomatoes and, if using canned, add 1 1/2 cans of spring water. If using fresh tomatoes, no water is necessary as the tomatoes will release their juices. Add parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Top with fresh parmesan if desired.