Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butternut Squash, White Bean, and Kale Soup

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I like wearing scarves, chunky sweaters, cute leather boots, and furry moccasins. I like mugs of mulled apple cider and fireplaces. I especially love soup. Lots of types of soups filled with vegetables, beans, herbs, and grains. I love how satisfied and cozy I feel after eating a perfect bowl of soup on a chilly fall evening. Lovely.
This soup is one of those perfect soups. It's easy to prepare, and tastes wonderful reheated throughout the week. It's packed with vegetables and beans, making it oh-so-healthy and hearty. Plus, it's gorgeous to look at. It is sure to please any dinner guest you may have, vegetarian or not. So go put on your furry moccasins, get cooking, and then snuggle up to this steaming bowl of delicious nourishment.

Butternut Squash, White Bean, and Kale Soup (serves 4 generously)

1 1/4 cup dry white beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, seeds removed, peeled, and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch of lacinato kale, stalks removed and finely chopped sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cook the white beans in plenty of water until soft and tender (usually takes 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how long your beans have soaked and how fresh they are). Drain and set aside.

2. In a large soup pot, cook chopped onions in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt about 5 minutes, or just until they start to soften. Then add chopped sage, thyme sprigs, rosemary, and bay leaves. Stir and let cook about a minute.

3. Add chopped garlic, carrots, parsnip, celery, and butternut squash. Add just enough water so that the vegetables are just submerged. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover the pot. Let vegetables cook for 20 minutes or until they are fork tender.

4. When the vegetables are tender, add the cooked white beans to the pot along with a teaspoon or so of sea salt. Turn off the heat. Stir well and add more sea salt if you think the soup needs it. Remove the thyme sprigs. With a potato masher, mash the soup  so that the butternut squash and beans break up a little bit to give it a creamy-chunky consistency. Lastly, add the chopped kale and stir again to wilt the kale. Serve with fresh black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and warm, rustic, crusty bread.



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