Friday, September 4, 2009

To Warm the Bones


On any ordinary year in Chicago, I wouldn't be writing about, much less making, a bowl of hot soup in early September. But this year, with our autumnal pre-Labor Day weather, nothing sounded better than a hot steaming bowl of soup last night. With it, I got the opportunity to use up the remainder of the produce I purchased from our farmers' market at Purple Asparagus' benefit, Corks & Crayons, which was graciously sponsored by my friends Harvest Moon Farms. With the help of my son, Thor, who chopped ALL of the tomatoes with his new wavy cutter, we made Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup, which was enjoyed by all in this house (at least once we fished out the kale from Thor's soup).

If you've got some unseasonably cool weather, here's my recipe.

Early Autumn Soup
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 cups dried beans cooked until almost tender, I used locally-grown Tongue of Fire beans available from Fresh
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine
1 rosemary sprig
2 heels of hard cheese, optional (I always freeze the heels of hard cheeses to thicken soups just like this)
1 bunch dinosaur kale, washed with heavy stems removed
2 tablespoons basil pesto

Cut the kale into 1/2 inch slices. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened, approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant about a minute. Drop in the beans and cover with the tomatoes, chicken stock and wine. Pour in about a cup of water so that the beans are covered by about an inch. Drop in the rosemary sprig and heels of cheese. Bring the liquid to a boil and dump in the kale. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are fully tender. Ladle into bowls and swirl a half tablespoon of basil pesto into each.

Thor's wavy cutter is great. IMG_2892
This utensil is a safe way for kids to cut most anything. It cuts through tomato skin, onions, peachs, etc. and it really makes the little ones feel like they're involved in the cooking process.

Posted as part of Fight Back Friday!

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