Lacinato Blue Kale Soup with Creamy White Beans and Ham (Slow and Lightning Quick)

by Laura on February 3, 2011

Okay, confessions first:  I love kale.  But even my Dear Husband and Sweet Boy, who would never be true cheerleaders for a soup with kale, eat it up happily.  And now that Americans seem to be gobbling down bitter salad greens like arugula and frisee, I hope I can talk you into looking past kale’s reputation for bitterness. Simmered in chicken stock with a meaty ham hock, aromatics, and creamy white beans, this soup is winter comfort food that’s darn good for you—the kale is really just along for the ride, and any bitterness is diffused in the stock.  I used lacinato blue, or dinosaur, kale for this soup, but you could use any kale—curly green or red Russian kale.  Look for kale that is immaculately fresh and has no yellow spots, and use it within a couple of days; it gets bitter as it ages.  If you really can’t stomach the idea of kale, substitute spinach.   I’ve written two versions of this recipe, one that is a long-simmer soup with dried beans and a ham hock, and one that can be thrown together on a busy night in under 30 minutes with tinned beans and thick slices of ham.  Both are a delicious way to eat your vegetables.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ayesha Jameel March 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

wow lovely blog ! very well presented :)
you can view and follow my blog if you wish … i will be really happy :D

2 Laura March 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Thank you!

3 Camille Natzke March 4, 2011 at 6:34 am

What would be the recommended time with fresh cranberry/borlotti beans?

4 Laura March 4, 2011 at 6:49 am

Oh, I’m so jealous you have fresh borlotti beans. I believe they take about 30 to 40 minutes to cook, so you can shorten the bean cooking time in the slow-cooking recipe (step 2) or increase the cooking time of the soup in the lightning-fast version (step 3) before you add the kale. Hope this makes sense!

5 Camille Natzke March 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I live in a Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York and they have them fresh here year round. It took me several years to realize what they were as they call them red beans and they are still in the pod. It takes a while to shell them but its worth it.

6 Camille Natzke March 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I should also mention though, that finding the ham hock will prove difficult for me as Caribbeans prefer beef, ox, and goat. I wonder how this would taste with oxtail. I think I’m on to something here…Thanks for answering so quickly!

7 Laura March 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm

That sounds pretty amazing. Thank you for transporting me to your corner of the world. Let me know how it turns out!

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