Simple Bean and Kale Soup

In early January after the excesses of Christmas and New Year celebrations, I always crave simple tasty food.  I am a big fan of Nigel Slater’s book “eat”.  There are many recipes with 3 or 4 ingredients that alway please me.  Black bean and onion stew or chorizo potatoes. With that illustrious target in mind, I make a simple kale and bean soup with homemade stock.

Every year we grow beans just to dry and keep the beans for winter soups and stews.  We also grow a fantastic perennial kale – Taunton Deane – in a half barrel.  It is easy to grow and, so far, has survived both hard winters and hot dry summers.  It is savaged by cabbage white caterpillars but from December through to May it provides sweet and tender leaves when ever we want irony greens.

Soups start with a good stock, this time round it was made with the left over turkey.  The bones and a few bits of meat were simmered in cold water with onions, carrots, bay, rosemary and a few pepper corns for a few hours.

This time the beans were borlotti beans.  Despite the hot dry supper we got a decent crop.  The bright red pods change to a little brown before we pick and dry on seed trays in the green house.  Simply soaked over night in cold water and then boiled for 30 minutes until soft and tender but still holding their shape.  We have found that they seem to cook quicker and have a creamier texture and softer skin than ones we buy in the supermarket.

The kale is picked, washed and cleaned of the inevitable white fly before being chopped up.

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The soup is then a quick assemble and simmer job.  When the stock is simmering I tip in the chopped kale and beans.  The kale wilts in about 4-5 minutes.

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We had some left over turkey, so I stirred in a handful of chopped turkey and it is ready to serve.

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All that went with it was some homemade sourdough focaccia.

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I love this soup.  You can add ginger, chilli, fried onions or anything else you like.  However, I prefer the simplicity of only 2-3 ingredients.  Thank you Nigel Slater for inspiring me.

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