Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I am officially in love with this soup. It's extremely easy and fast. Just saute some onion, throw everything in the pot, blend, and enjoy! It keeps well. In fact, it tastes better the next day, when the flavors have had time to get to know each other. It's healthy. A ton of green vegetable, and protein and fiber galore! It's filling. And best of all, it's delicious!
Not to mention, extremely adaptable. I used prosciutto because I had it on hand, but bacon or pancetta would have worked just as well. Or skip it all together for a vegetarian version. You could use onion instead of shallot, leave out the sherry if you're not a booze hound like me. Use any kind of bean that tickles your fancy, same for the cheese. In fact, to completely change the flavor of the dish, just swap out the vegetable! I made a soup very similar to this once before with broccoli instead of kale. Just as delicious, but since broccoli tastes nothing like kale, it was like a whole new soup!
I used the ingredients I used here because I think they compliment each other well. Prosciutto, shallots, sherry, and sharp cheddar cheese go together like...me and food! The cannellini beans give a creamy flavor and texture. But my favorite part is the kale. I was surprised, since it was pureed into minuscule bits, that it could still have what I would call a bite to it, but it did! This wasn't some vegetable thrown in to make me feel like I was being healthy by eating my vegetables. Kale is still very much the star in this soup, which I like because kale is delicious!
Also, did you know that studies have shown that if you start a meal with a broth-based soup you're more likely to eat fewer calories for that meal because the soup fills you up? Bonus!
Kale White Bean and Cheddar Soup
heavily adapted from Food Network
2oz prosciutto, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry sherry
1lb kale, stems trimmed and chopped
1 14oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Heat large pot or dutch oven over medium heat with 1TB of olive oil. Add the prosciutto and cook until some of the fat releases, a minute or two. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
2. Add the sherry, and deglaze the pot. Wait until it has mostly cooked away, then add the kale and let it cook down for a few minutes. If necessary, add the kale in batches, letting the previous batch wilt down a bit before adding the next. Add the beans.
3. Stir in enough chicken broth for desired consistency. All 4 cups yielded a rather thin soup, which is what I wanted at the time. Bring soup to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Remove pot from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes to cool. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the soup. Return the pureed soup to the pot and add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it is melted and incorporated.