Nothing beats a bowl of soup on a cold winter day. And one of my husband's favorite soups is bean soup.
I've never been a fan of bean soup. I've tried several recipes, most of which had a ham bone simmered in the soup, and I just didn't care for it. I always thought I did something wrong, but Ed thought it was good, so maybe I just didn't like bean soup.
But I still wanted to find a bean soup that I did like. And now I did.
I adapted this recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine. I say adapted, because I rarely go out and purchase specific ingredients but just use what I have. The bacon gave this soup wonderful flavor, the slow cooking method made the beans perfectly soft and buttery, and the one pot meal makes the cook happy.
I now have a bean soup that I love!
Tuscan Bean Soup
1 lb dried white beans (navy, white kidney, or great northern)
8 oz bacon, cut into small pieces (can also replace with sausage)
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 lb (about 8 cups) kale or collard greens, chopped (I used cabbage.)
1 can diced tomatoes
Soak beans in 3 T. salt and 2 quarts cold water for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
In large oven proof pot (such as Dutch oven) fry bacon on the stove top. Remove bacon and saute onion and celery in drippings. Add garlic for the last minute. Stir in bacon, carrots, broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Bring to simmer. Cover pot with lid and place in 250 degree oven for 1 hour or until beans are almost tender.
Remove pot from oven and add greens and tomatoes. Return to oven for 30 more minutes until fully tender.
Remove from oven. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaf. Serve.