Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Tuscan" White Bean Soup

I made this last night as a sort of whip-it-up soup, and as a tester for the dinner I'm making tonight for my father-in-law, who pretty much only eats Italian food. He especially mentioned a white-bean soup. I had looked up about a million white-bean soup and pasta fagioli recipes, and even picked one, but then last night, Pete was on his way home and had a sinus thing going on, and I hadn't soaked beans or done anything, and I didn't have the patience for the fancypants recipe I was going to use, so I just made this instead. It's a lot like my other Friday-night soups (and I even made it on a Friday night!), but with tomatoes and white beans.

I'm not calling it Tuscan because it's particularly Tuscan in origin, but because it makes it sounds more Italian, and because I used canned beans and tomatoes. (Get it--TusCAN?) I'd use fresh tomatoes if they were in season, and soak the beans if I were planning better. I made ours pretty spicy, to try to help clear up Pete's sinuses, but you can leave out the cayenne altogether if you want.

A word of warning: this makes a lot of soup, which is good for feeding a large group, or for freezing, or bringing to someone in need of home-cooked meals who can't cook for themselves and loves to eat soup every day. Pete & I each had two bowls, we filled this giant jar, and there was still another bowl left over. We're eating this soup all week long!

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme (about 6 sprigs)
1 Tbsp. miso paste
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4-5 roma tomatoes, diced--use fresh or canned depending on the season, with their juice
1 can white beans (cannelini or navy beans, your choice), drained & rinsed
~6 c. water
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch of kale, washed & chopped into bite-sized pieces
cayenne, salt, pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions & saute until just translucent, then add carrots & stir. Add thyme & stir well for a minute or two. Add garlic slices and cook until you begin to smell the garlic. Stir in miso paste and a splash of water. Stir until water is evaporated and miso coats other ingredients. Deglaze the pot with water, and add tomatoes and beans. Stir until ingredients are well mixed, add water and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat. Add lemon, cayenne, and salt/pepper. Add kale and stir until wilted & bright green. Dilute as needed, reduce heat, and serve!

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