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Tuscan Bread & White Bean Soup

Tuscan bread & white bean soup 3

Today seemed like a good day to have a pot of beans simmering on the stove. As a sort of comforting reminder that we’re home, that the house is being warmed from the kitchen out, steaming the cold windows, and that we have time to let them take their time. And because a pot of beans provides potential for more – for a pot of something bigger and more nourishing that will feed a handful of people who are important in our lives. It means a starting point for me to experiment with without any particular plan. Yes, I can read a lot into a bean.

What happened to this particular pot of beans had, as usual, a lot to do with what I had in the fridge. The thing about kale is that three and a half bunches of it take up a lot of space in the crisper, but you can cook it down to hardly anything. And the thing about leftover crusty bread is that it makes fantastic French toast, which I need to shake the morning habit of. And so I remembered a hearty vegetable-bean-crusty bread soup-stew of years past – one that, if memory serves, you refrigerate and then reheat by baking it the next day – the top gets all crusty and golden, the soup itself transforming into a thick stew as the liquid gets soaked up by bread that would otherwise be too hard to do much with. If you have a Parmesan rind in your fridge, toss it in as the soup simmers.

Tuscan bread & white bean soup 2

There are a few ways to do the toast: cut thick slices, toast them, then set a piece in the bottom of each bowl, drizzle with good olive oil, ladle the soup over top and grate Parmesan over the whole thing. Or run the bread, topped with grated cheese (and oil too if you like) under the broiler, and set a piece atop each bowl of soup. Or ladle the soup into ovenproof dishes and top with bread and cheese a la French onion soup, place the bowls on a baking sheet and run the whole lot under the broiler.

Tuscan bread & white bean soup 3
Tuscan bread & white bean soup 3

Tuscan Bread & White Bean Soup

  , ,

January 11, 2016

Ingredients

olive oil, for cooking

1 onion, chopped

1-2 celery stalks, chopped (with leaves, if there are any)

1-2 carrots, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

salt and pepper

3-4 cups (a 1 L carton works well) chicken or veg stock

1 14 oz (398 mL) can diced or whole plum tomatoes, with their juice

2 cups canned or cooked navy or white kidney (cannellini) beans (one 19 oz/540 mL can)

1 thin-skinned potato, diced (optional)

a couple sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme

1 small bunch (or a few large leaves) kale, thinly sliced (discard the stems)

thick, crusty day-old bread

grated Parmesan, aged Gouda or cheddar

Directions

1Set a medium pot over medium-high heat, add a good glug of olive oil and saute the onion, celery and carrots for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and some salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.

2Add the stock, tomatoes, beans, potato, rosemary and/or thyme and bring to a simmer; cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Pluck out the herb stems and stir in the kale. It will only need a couple minutes to wilt.

3There are a few ways to do the toast: cut thick slices, toast them, then set a piece in the bottom of each bowl, drizzle with good olive oil, ladle the soup over top and grate Parmesan over the whole thing. Or run the bread, topped with grated cheese (and oil too if you like) under the broiler, and set a piece atop each bowl of soup. Or ladle the soup into ovenproof dishes and top with bread and cheese a la French onion soup, place the bowls on a baking sheet and run the whole lot under the broiler.

4Serves 6.

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9 comments on “Tuscan Bread & White Bean Soup

  1. Sue D
    January 11, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Oh man. Need some of that action at my house!

  2. Jules @ WolfItDown
    January 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I love the rustic look of this! And what a good way of using up bread as well! This sounds sooooo fragrant 😀 Love it!

    I hope you have had a happy new year so far :) xx

  3. Kristi
    September 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    This looks so yummy! I will be making this very soon :). But I will bulk up the other veggies because cooked greens do not fly with my crew ????

    • Julie
      September 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      That’s the beauty of soup – you can do what you like!

  4. Chris
    December 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I LOVE THIS SOUP! I’ve been freezing lunch sized portions without the bread, then adding croutons when I reheat. So good!

    • Julie
      December 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Brilliant! So glad you like it!

  5. Stülpschachtel
    September 1, 2018 at 7:04 pm

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    Ambalaje Plastic, S.R.L. in catalogul Allbiz!Conductor Rigid tip FY · Conductor flexibil tip MYF(VLPY) · Cablu flexibil · Rotund tip MYYM
    · Plat tip

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