Tuscan Bean Soup

April 6, 2016

As many of you might already know, I have this thing with soup…  Although soup season is almost coming to an end, I’m determined to squeeze every last drop out of it.  After spending the weekend in Tuscany eating the heartiest and most delicious soups at almost every meal, all I wanted to do when I returned back home was to try one out myself.  Whilst I’m pretty used to making creamy vegetable soups, tuscan soups are all about a mixture of different textures and flavours- creaminess from beans cooked from scratch contrasted with the dark chewy greens, and depth in flavour from the different vegetables, oil, herbs, good quality olive oil and tomato puree. Although this soup takes a tiny bit longer than your average creamed soup,  it is so so worth it! This recipe also serves a pretty large amount of people, and is extremely hearty, so whip this up at a family gathering or at your next Sunday lunch on a chilly spring day,  and I’m sure it will be a hit!
A couple of notes:
This soup calls for borlotti beans, which you should be able to find pretty easily.  If you really can’t find them though, you could use a different type of bean- the only really important thing is that you boil the beans from scratch instead of using canned ones!
This recipe also calls for black tuscan kale.  This is a little different from the kale you sometimes see at the supermarket, as it is thicker and darker. I have found it before really easily you could always use what you find or a different dark leafy green.

Tuscan Bean Soup
500 g dried borlotti beans
2 sage leaves (or bay)
3 garlic cloves
4 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion (chopped)
2 carrots (finely chopped)
2 celery sticks (finely chopped)
400 g black tuscan kale
3 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Once soaked, put them to boil with water, 1 of the sage leaves, and 1 of the garlic cloves. Depending on how long they were soaked for, they should take about an hour to cook. When they taste nearly done, and only then, add some salt (doing so before will make them fall apart).
Put this apart for the moment, and in another pot add 3 tbsp of olive oil, along with the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Sauté this for a few minutes, after which you can add the last garlic clove (finely chopped) and the last sage leaf and continue sautéing. To this, add a cup of the water the beans were cooked in. Stir in the tomato puree and let cook for another couple of minutes. Little by little, start adding the kale, letting it wilt as you go. Once it has all cooked down, add the cooked beans along with about a litre and a half of the cooking water. Stir everything well, and if you want your soup a little runnier, add more of the cooking water. Adjust with salt and pepper, and let simmer for another 45 minutes. Finally add the last tablespoon of olive oil (optional), serve up with some crusty bread and enjoy! ©2016 Bowl of Comfort

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