Around this time of year, as I look toward the new year and think about all of the gazillion Christmas cookies that I just ate, I crave light, healthful and easy home cooked meals.
I've started cooking with dried beans more. White beans - great Northern or cannellini beans - seem to by my family's preferred bean. I especially like how taking out some of the cooked beans from a soup, pureeing them and then adding them back in can make for a thicker, creamier soup.
The slow cooker is the perfect pot for a dish like this. You basically throw it all in one pot, set it to cook and ladle it out when it's ready hours later.
I had some kale on hand and found this recipe for a super simple white bean and kale slow cooker soup. I made a couple of changes. The recipe from My Humble Kitchen recommended that the beans soak for two days. I've never soaked beans for more than overnight. Sometimes I don't soak them at all.
For this recipe, I soaked them for about six hours and they came out just fine. I doubled the amount of beans and broth that I pureed because I wanted a heartier, less brothy soup. And I used six cloves of garlic because I just like a lot of garlic flavor.
Slow Cooker Kale and White Bean Soup
Adapted from My Humble Kitchen
8 cups water
2 cups, dried, great northern white beans, soaked overnight
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Throw these ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours. After the eight hours are up, take two cups of cooked beans and two cups of broth and puree in a blender or food processor.
Toward the end of the cooking time, you'll want to prepare the kale.
Here's what you do:
Ingredients for kale mixture
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large handfuls of kale
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
bean and broth puree
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a sauce pan and add the kale and garlic. Cook it down for about three minutes. Then add the bean and broth puree and salt and cook that all together for about 3 minutes.
Throw the kale and garlic mixture back into the slow cooker. Give it a really good stir and serve. It tastes delicious with some grated Parmesan cheese on top. Serve with some good bread and a salad.
It's a healthy and hearty meal.
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