Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen and Husband-Tested in Alice's Kitchen
Serves 8

The kale at Lost River Market & Deli looks so good, so I decided to give this recipe a try. It's still a bit cool outside and this soup is made in a low oven, so making it will not only warm the kitchen, but it'll warm the tummy too. I saw the recipe tried on the television show "America's Test Kitchen." This soup was really easy to make, however, you'll need to remember to soak the beans overnight. Dried beans can be found in the bulk section of the store.
Soaking the beans overnight in salted water makes for creamy beans with tender skins. (If you're pressed for time, see the note about quick soaking the beans at the end of this recipe.)

3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
1 pound dried cannellini or navy beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon
extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large
onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves , peeled and crushed
4 cups
low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups
bay leaves
1 bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
(14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 slices country white bread , each 1 1/4 inches thick, broiled until golden brown on both sides and rubbed with garlic clove (optional)

1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 6 to 10 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
4. Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. (I used a submersion blender to blend a bit of the soup right in the pot to thicken it a bit.)

Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.

If you're short on time, you can quick-soak the beans: Place the rinsed beans in a large heat-resistant bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well before proceeding with step 2.


Anonymous said...

can you comment on how this tasted? i am interested to try this recipe.

Alice said...

My husband and I have tasted all of the recipes on the blog. If we give the dishes a "thumbs up," I post them on the blog, hence the name "Husband-Tested Recipes." This bean soup recipe is a good basic recipe. I learned how best to soak and cook the beans so that they were just the right texture. I think you'll find this soup very satisfying and healthy. It'll warm you tummy during this chilly fall!