Hoo boy, it is definitely October here in Boston!
Rainy cool days followed by the sun setting no longer at eight (goodbye summer solstice), have actually been welcomed here in our little apartment. While some mourn the loss of their last heirloom tomato, I’m welcoming the leaves turning various shades of precious metals. The squirrels are becoming even more active, skittering back and forth across the telephone wires that face the back of our kitchen, trying to collect the last of their bounty before cold, cold winter makes our way into the Northeast.
With the recent season change, I want nothing but to bake, eat loads of crusty bread, and dunk said bread into soup. Lots of soup. With our recent diet change to a plant based diet, I’m finding that soups are making the transition quite easy. I love that this particular soup can easily be made on a work night and can last for an entire week’s worth of lunches….if you don’t mind that kind of thing! And what I especially love about soup is that its flavors get even more complex the next day.
Incredibly warming from the red pepper flake, caramelized onions adding body and depth, with a variation of textures from the kale, cannellini beans, and potatoes, this soup is a cool weather favorite. If you’ve never tried kale before, this is a great place to start. The kale is tender, not bitter, and complements the creamy potatoes and cannellini beans. I love grabbing a bite of everything, and how the kale picks up loads of broth on its leaves, giving me even more of a zing as it goes down.
Spicy dishes are great to remind you that even with summer ending, you don’t have to let go of the heat. Ladle a serving or two of this soup into a bowl for you and your loved one, and sit a little close to one another on the couch. Literally break some bread, and eat some love.
Serves Four To Six
Adapted from Rachael Ray
3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 to 4 medium potatoes (I used Russet), peeled and chopped to easily edible pieces
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced (love love love garlic)
Half a tablespoon of red pepper flake (if you’re heat sensitive, start with a teaspoon…I LOVE heat, so the more the better!)
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of kale, (about a pound) leaves removed from stems, torn with hands into easily edible pieces
1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (I used Trader Joe’s brand) *again, if you’re heat sensitive, you can use just plain diced tomatoes so you can control the heat
4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
One large pot
A sharp knife
Pour olive oil into your pot and place over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions, and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions turn golden brown (it may take more than five minutes depending on your burner), add the potatoes. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on your onions, and make sure you stir occasionally as you want them to caramelize as they cook with the potatoes, but not burn.
Add the garlic and red pepper flake. Cook until fragrant, about thirty seconds to a minute.
Add the kale in batches, starting to wilt it in the hot oil, onion, garlic mixture. Turn the kale over, to fully coat it (and even spoon some of those ingredients over the kale) with the hot ingredients in the pot, to help it wilt. Once the first batch starts to wilt, add the second. Continue turning the kale over, coating it with the hot ingredients, until all the kale starts to wilt.
Add the bay leaves, beans, tomatoes and broth to the pot. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Decrease the heat back to low/medium (my burner is extremely strong and it has to be set to very low to keep the ingredients at a simmer and not boil over) and simmer the ingredients for about ten more minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.