Escarole and White Bean Soup from Soup Swap Cookbook

Earlier this month I reviewed Kathy Gunst’s wonderful book, Soup Swap,  with beautiful photos.

Here is that link: http://www.menupause.info/archives/21841.

I also posted her Pea Broth recipe with the review and promised the Escarole and White Bean Broth, which I made a few days ago and it was yummy!  Here is the recipe with my photo. (Note: The recipe has “with Parmesan Cheese” at the end of the title, but I did not add the cheese, so the recipe I made was vegan. It is from her vegetarian soup chapter, which also contains several soup stocks. One is used in this recipe.)

 

Makes 10 to 12 Tasting Portions (for a soup swap) or 8 full servings

Escarole, a slightly bitter variety of endive, looks like a big head of lettuce with broad leaves and a wonderful crunch. High in folic acid and fiber, it’s loaded with vitamins and makes an excellent soup. This is a thick, warming soup with white cannellini beans and lots of garlic. If you have Parmesan cheese rind in your freezer, add it to the soup; before serving, be sure to remove it with a slotted spoon. The soup has a surprisingly complex flavor but takes well under an hour to make! You could also top it with some cooked, crumbled pancetta or bacon. (Note from Ellen Sue: I topped it with Kathy’s polenta croutons, which I will post soon. Also, the author includes metric measurements in [  ].)

2 lb. [910 g] escarole
2 medium leeks or 2 medium sweet onions
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups [660 g)] cooked white cannellini beans or canned beans (drained, rinsed, and re-drained)
7 cups [1/7 L] Vegetable Stock
Parmesan cheese rind (optional), plus 1/2 cup [40 g]
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Core the escarole. Rinse under cold water and thoroughly dry. Finely chop one half and coarsely chop the other half; set aside. Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vegetable stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold water, pat dry, and cut crosswise into thin pieces. (If using onions, cut them into thin slices.)

2. In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 tsp. of the thyme and season with salt and pepper.

3. Using a food processor or blender, purée 1 cup [220 g] of the beans, the remaining 1 1/4 tsp. thyme, and one cup [240 ml] of the vegetable stockuntil smooth. Add the bean purée and remaining  2 cups [440 g] beans to the pot. Turn the heat to medium, add all the escarole, and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the leaves are just wilted. Turn the heat to high, add the remaining 6 cups [1.4 L] vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Add the Parmesan rind (if using), turn the heat to low, and cook,partially covered, for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the rind from the soup.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot, sprinkled with grated cheese. (Note: I topped mine with the polenta croutons, which I will post in an upcoming blog.)

TO GO (for Soup Swap meal): Pack the grated cheese separately.

 

 

 

 

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