Archive for January 11th, 2011

In my last post I talked about having a giveaway for the one year anniversary of Spicy Living. Well, I still want to have a giveaway but it’s not going to happen in this post. I’m not trying to tease you guys, I just need to work out some of the details.

In the winter it can be tough to find a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the things I miss the most during this time are ripe berries, cherry tomatoes and the variety of bell peppers. Unfortunately none of these things are in season here and I refuse to purchase produce all the way from Chile and Mexico. You’ve probably noticed that kale is one of the most abundant vegetables we have in the winter.  The recipe I want to share is a perfect winter time soup that will help you use all that kale you see out there. Of course you already know that kale is super healthy and blocks the growth of cancer cells. So start listening to your mom and eat your greens.

What makes this recipe really good is the piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind. I always save the rind to my Parmigiano-Reggiano and store it in the freezer. This way I have it on hand anytime I want to make soup.

Parmesan rind

I made a few small changes to this recipe. I used dried rosemary instead of fresh because that’s what I had on hand. I also added a little bit of dried thyme. I left out the sausage because I’m not a huge meat eater and last I used red kale instead of the lacinato asked for in the recipe. Lacinato is easily found at most grocery stores, see the cook’s note below.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 qt water
1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf (not California)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (optional), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped


Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse. I skipped this process by soaking my beans in water overnight.

Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water (I didn’t add any water to my recipe), cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes.

While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.

Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Cook’s notes:

Soup is best if made 1 or 2 days ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Thin with water if necessary.

Lacinato is available at farm stands, specialty produce markets, and natural foods stores. Be aware that it has many aliases: Tuscan kale, black cabbage, cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, and flat black cabbage.


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