Did I discover this recipe in Tuscany? No, but cannellini beans are very common in Tuscan food and I think calling this “Tuscan” makes it sound fancier. It doesn’t matter what you call this soup , it’s hearty, warming and delicious. This also freezes well. I always have a container of this in the freezer on standby for a quick and easy meal.
1 lb dried northern or cannellini beans
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
5 cups chopped fresh kale (or other dark leafy green)
5 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb chopped uncured ham steak
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1.5 tsp liquid smoke
2 stems of thyme
1 tbs dried marjoram
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
- Rinse and sort the beans, looking for pebbles (trust me, this step is worth it).
- Put the beans in a large bowl or pot, cover with water 2 inches over the beans and soak overnight. You can speed this step up by covering the beans with boiling water and letting them soak for an hour.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add in carrots, onions and celery and cook until softened.
- Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans to the pot along with ham steak, chicken stock, water, liquid smoke, thyme, marjoram and both peppers.
- Set the temperature to medium-high heat and bring the soup to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes or until beans are tender.
- Remove the sprigs of thyme and add salt to taste. Add chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the kale is wilted.
- Serve with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
- Try to save some for later.