I know soup season is over… but I’m not going to stop being me, okay? I’ll do my best to refrain from soup, but it’s going to happen sometimes. Even when it’s above 70 degrees outside.
Now, this recipe in particular was inspired by my firm belief that enough garlic will send any cold attempting to take over my body packing. Is this belief rooted in science? Not really. Does it probably only work because of the placebo effect? Possibly. But I’m a willful believer. And I had the sniffles.
So needless to say… if you’re not a fan of garlic, just move along. This recipe ain’t for you. It includes four heads. Not cloves. Four HEADS of garlic.
Kick me in the face with your healing powers, magic herb.
Flavor-wise, there IS too much garlic in this recipe. It is too strong. It’s overpowering. But deliciousness was only the second priority for this soup. Sniffle-kicking power was the first, and it prevails. So if you’re making this because it looks delicious and not because you need magic healing powers, I’d cut the garlic in half. It will still be healthy and wonderfully garlicky, but much more balanced.
You can also use any greens you like in this soup: chard, curly kale, spinach, collard– follow your heart. But I wouldn’t recommend using any other beans than cannellini or great northern. While pinto, red, or black beans may add visual appeal, they’re not creamy enough to offset the other textures going on. Even Navy beans will be a little too chewy, even if they offer the same visuals.
Be like me. Love your cannellinis. Take pictures with them. They’re your best asset.
Garlic White Bean Soup with Kale and Bacon
3-4 large garlic heads, separated and peeled
2 T olive oil
1/2 white onion
3 c. cooked cannellini beans
1 “bunch” kale, (12-16 stems)
8-12 strips of cooked bacon (about 1 1/4 c. minced or crumbled)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the root ends off of your peeled cloves, and place in a food processor or shallow blender. Blend until cloves are coarsely chopped. Roughly dice the half of an onion, and add to the food processor. Blend or pulse until both garlic and onions are finely minced.
Bring a large soup pot to medium heat and add olive oil. If oil smokes, reduce heat. Add garlic and onions, and stir until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes or until garlic and onions are translucent and slightly darkened in color. They should have also significantly reduced in size.
Add chicken broth, beans, bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until beans are very soft. Use a fork or a potato masher to press about 1/4 of the beans against the sides and bottom of the pot. This will add thickness and body to the broth without adding extra fat or dairy. Wash and destem kale, then chop roughly. Next, add minced or crumbled bacon, and kale. Allow the soup to come back to a low simmer, and simmer for at least five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy hot with bread and garnish with parmesan shavings if desired.