White Bean, Kale, and Prosciutto Soup

October 15, 2008 · 0 comments

in beans and legumes,soups and stews

We were out of town for a few days (attending a great wedding Tom & I both stood up in) so you’ll have to forget the lack of attention to my blog. I wish I could say it won’t happen again but since we’re going out of town again in the next couple of weeks (it’s wedding season!) and the holidays are fast approaching, I can’t guarantee that.

Chicago weather has been a bit schizophrenic. I thought for sure Fall had come. I made a batch of Italian wedding soup, switched the clothes in my closet from the skirts and short sleeved shirts to the sweaters and…more sweaters. (I have a bit of a sweater obsession.) And then…it was in the 80s. We had to turn on our A/C all over again. More grilled chicken salads came into the picture.

But I think (hope?) I can say with confidence now that Fall is here. Oh sure, next week we’ll probably have to turn our heat on and the week after that we’ll probably be trampling through snow. Gotta love the midwest. But for now, I am enjoying the weather and renewing my love affair with soups and stews.

So, the second soup of the season was this white bean, prosciutto, and kale soup. Over the last few years, I have become slightly obsessed with beans (although I am still not the craziest about garbanzo, sadly). I used to dislike beans (or at least, I thought I did) but I am always keeping beens/lentils around these days and adding them to pretty much everything. I love green leafy vegetables with white beans, so I decided to go with kale over spinach since I think it’s sturdier and has a more bitter flavor that I prefer in soups. And the prosciutto was just something to bulk it up, that worked really well flavor-wise in this soup. Of course you can always add some smoked chicken sausage or start off the soup with bacon or pancetta. I personally loved the meaty chunks of prosciutto.

This is how I like to buy my prosciutto:

I ask the person at the deli/butcher to cut the entire 1/2 lb. in one thick, meaty slice. Thin slices are great for sandwiches and the like, but more times than not I use don’t use prosciutto for sandwiches/wrapping things, so this works best for me. And by the way, even if you do prefer thin prosciutto, still get it from the deli. It’s cheaper than the prepackaged kind.

White Bean, Prosciutto and Kale Soup
Serves 6-8
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1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can (3 oz. total) tomato paste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken broth
1.5 Tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
2 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 rind from a wedge of parmesan or romano cheese
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 lb. prosciutto, diced
salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or stockpot. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic, cooking until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, cooking just a minute or two to cook off some of the paste.

Meanwhile, lightly smash about 1/2 a can of the white beans (this will thicken the soup a bit). Add the chicken broth, rosemary, beans, rind and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add the kale and carrots and simmer an additional 8 minutes or so until the kale is tender.

Off the heat, add the prosciutto (or you can just add it to the bowl you are eating the soup out of).

Nutritional Information (for 6 servings): Calories: 341 / Fat: 10g / Carbs: 45g / Fiber: 9.8g / Protein: 21g

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