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
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.
3Add 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.
5There 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.