Garlic, Greens and Beans
Nov.08.09 § 4 Comments
Garlic is an essential part of my diet. I love the flavor and I believe all the nutrients in that pungent little bulb can do wonders for a person’s health.
This recipe is a combination of some recipes I have read, my own know how, and something I like to call intuitive Italian cooking. “Greens and Beans” is a name that applies to a great many soups, including Kale and White Bean Stew and one of my absolute favorites, Escarole Soup. Here I combined those basic ingredients with “Garlic and Greens,” a soup by vegan cook Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. You can watch her sweet little video here.
I had never been brave enough to use an entire bulb of garlic until I watched that video. Since then, I have done so in several recipes. So thanks, Colleen, for helping me breach the garlic threshold. I am now an all-out garlic addict. And I’m also addicted to beans. That sounds like an unfortunate disposition, doesn’t it? However, when I was reporting in Ocean City, Md., in 2007, I covered a regional health conference at which an expert spoke about the benefits of eating beans. He said you can add beans to your existing diet and lose weight without reducing your caloric intake, because of the fiber. I then became obsessed with beans. They also add protein, which I love, and can be so savory if cooked right.
I recommend using cannelini in any white bean recipe. They are by far the creamiest, tastiest white bean. Of course, that’s just my opinion. You may sing the praises of Great Northern, Navy, or Kidney. The truth is, I love them all.
In this recipe, I use vegetable broth. Goudreau uses vegetable bouillon. I generally do not like bouillon. The only kind I even approve of purchasing is Rapunzel and even that just barely pleases my taste buds. Also, Goudreau adds potatoes. Initially I thought they just add unecessary carbs and calories. Then someone, I believe Michael Pollan in In Defense of Food, turned me on to the fact that potatoes actually have an enzyme in them that curbs appetite. Say no more. They also add a certain heartiness to the soup that one can really appreciate in the winter months. However, if beans do not do enough of a number on your innards as it is, adding potatoes will surely do the trick. My Uncle Eddie recently was telling me that beans and potatoes are not actually supposed to be combined. Oh well, I’m a rebel.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
About 1 lb. kale, chard, spinach, collards or escarole, washed, stemmed and chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 head of garlic, minced
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 lb. small new potatoes, washed and cubed
1 can (or 2 cups soaked and cooked) white beans
parmesan cheese and black pepper for serving
I would suggest dicing and mincing your onion and garlic prior to starting the cooking process. This cooks fast. Also, wash and cut your greens beforehand. Or, if you’re like me, typically low on time and money, you’ve bought the jumbo bag of pre-washed, pre-cut kale from the grocery store and you’re already prepared to just throw it in the pot.
Sweat the onion in the olive oil on medium heat for about 7 minutes, until it is just translucent, then add the garlic and thyme. Toss for another 30 seconds to one minute, but don’t let the garlic brown. Deglaze with a little broth and add the kale. Add enough broth to make sure the bottom of the pot does not burn, turn up the heat, and cover until the kale is wilted.
Pour in the rest of the broth, cover and wait until the soup begins to bubble again. Then add the potatoes and simmer until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the beans and continue to cook until beans are heated through.
Top with parmesan and some black pepper.