Tag Archives: beans

Souper Bowl: Kale and white bean soup


I haven’t exactly been present on this blog.  This last year has brought a lot of changes to my life: work has been busier than ever, I’m eating more healthfully, and having taken up running means that I get less time at night to prepare (let alone photograph) supper.  But when I saw Branny’s Souper Bowl post invitation, I knew I had to participate.

We have two cats.  Ever since I found out that I’m not actually allergic to cats, I’ve known that I wanted a couple and that I wanted to adopt them (rather than buy a specific breed).  Both of ours came from the local shelter, and both have very distinct personalities.  Sierra, the first cat we got and the older of the two,  is a cuddle-bug… for about two minutes. Then she’s out of your arms and dashing away to go off on her own… but if you wait long enough, she’ll be back, for two more minutes of intense cuddling, purring, and marking your chin with her nose. In any case, this post is dedicated to Sierra, our quiet furball.

Up close, wanting some love. (Soup in the background!)

This soup has been one of my winter staples until recently.  Bacon, homemade croutons, and soft slumped kale- what’s not to like?!  It’s filling, salty and almost buttery.  The bacon adds some chew, while the veggies and beans bring the heft. I’ve made it with both curly and lacinato kale, and both work just fine.  And if you’re a fan of chorizo or sausage, you may want to try that instead of the bacon.  But one thing is for sure- do not skip the homemade croutons.

Kale and White Bean Soup
Approximately 4 servings
Adapted from Everything is Better with Bacon and a recipe in the Williams Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook

1 pound or 2 cans white beans (if you can’t get fresh dried beans, go with canned)
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 bay leaf
1/4 to 1/2 t. sage and thyme each (to your taste)
3 -4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced (save the leafy greens if you’ve still got them)
5-6 cups chicken stock
1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the beans: if using dried beans, soak overnight and boil for 30 minutes, or prepare according to package directions. They don’t need to be totally soft as they will simmer in the soup.  If using canned beans, drain and rinse; set aside.

In a large dutch oven or kettle, fry the bacon in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium or medium-high heat.  Stir in the onion and sautee for 4-5 minutes more.  Add garlic, sage, thyme, and bay leaf, and stir while cooking for a minute.  Add carrots and celery, stir, and saute briefly; add chicken stock and beans, and bring soup to a simmer.

Simmer the soup for at least 25 minutes, but up to an hour to combine flavors and soften vegetables. Stir in the chopped kale (and the celery greens if you’ve got them), return up to a simmer, and allow the kale to wilt in the soup, about 15 minutes. (If you want a bite to your kale, watch closely and only cook for about 5 minutes. I like mine silky soft and slumpy on my spoon.)  Season with salt and pepper, and serve with homemade salted croutons.

For croutons:
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small sautee pan on medium high.  While melting, add 1/2-3/4 cup bread cubes.  Sprinkle with a few pinches of good salt.  Toss bread around and allow to brown for 2-3 minutes between stirs, for a total of 8-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room-temperature with soup.

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January 20, 2012 · 3:28 pm

Calico Beans

I never liked my grandpa’s second wife. There, I admitted it. She was pushy, she treated his kids and grandkids like crap and considered hers from her first marriage to be saints, and she didn’t like that we “took him away from time with her family.” Uh, what?!

However, the lady did make a mean calico bean dish. I wasn’t able to find a recipe online that was close enough to my favorite, so I’m posting it here for the good of humanity. Mmm, beans.

*Note– you definitely can sub in canned beans, but I like dried beans because they’re cheaper, and no pesky cans with goopy smelly bean-snot to rinse and drain off. Your choice.

Calico Beans
 per Darlene E.

1/3 cup each of the following dried bean varieties:

  • kidney beans
  • navy or pinto beans
  • butter or lima beans
  • black beans
  • great Northern beans
  • garbanzo beans (optional)

You want to end up using about 2 cups of dry beans, give or take. You can use more of your favorites, or include smaller amounts of even more varieties of beans. I don’t consider a recipe to be “calico” unless it includes kidney, butter, black, and white beans, but that’s me. :)

1 can pork and beans or baked beans of your choice
8-12 slices of bacon
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 clove minced garlic, or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with 5-6 cups water. Let sit at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Or, if using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans and toss together in a bowl; set aside.

Heat a large skillet and cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels; get rid of the majority of the bacon grease. In the same skillet, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Crumble or chop the bacon, and add back into the skillet. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes. Pour mixture over drained mixed beans and stir to combine.

This can be frozen or refrigerated until ready to serve. To warm with the crock pot: spoon mixture into a crockpot and add 3/4 cup water. Cook on low until warm, or up to 5 hours. To bake: spoon into greased baking dish and cover with 1/2 cup water. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and hot.

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Filed under Side dishes, Vegetarian