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The Grind

Happy Monday evening, everyone. Today I got right back to the grind. I was out on vacation for twelve whole (amazing) days. It was wonderful. But this morning when my alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I realized I had to get back into the swing of things and back to the grind.

Thankfully I had a wonderful Sunday night – I treasured it because I knew that 5:30 AM was going to roll around quickly. Sunday I went to Wegman’s where I discovered a fantastic bottle of pinot noir from France (I’ll let you know what it is soon! I have to dig up the bottle…) and picked up ingredients to make a Tuscan white bean soup. When we got home I had my ‘other half’ in charge of cutting up the pancetta, and cooking it and rendering the lovely fat. It smelled pretty good – but the couple of times that I went over to stir it in the dutch oven, I found the smell almost overwhelming. When I had just a small piece, it tasted good and the flavor that it added to the soup was amazing!

I found the original recipe via Cook’s Illustrated – and I had to adapt it for the equipment and ingredients I had on hand. I will tell you in this post what I did.

Ingredients:

1/4 pound of sliced pancetta

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 carrots, diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 – 4 celery stalks, diced

7 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cans of cannelloni beans. (you can probably add three to make it easier. Always try to get a reduced sodium can of beans!!)

1 can of crushed or diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces but next time I might use a bigger can?)

4 cups of low sodium chicken broth

2 cups of water

1 bay leaf

rosemary, chopped (how ever much you’d like)

8 cups of raw, tripped and chopped kale (it is so great in this soup!)

I started the soup by chopping the vegetables up:

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We heated the oil in the bottom of our pot. Add the pancetta, stir and cook until it starts to brown slightly. We cooked the pancetta around medium heat, maybe a little less. Fat will render. We cooked the pancetta for about ten minutes. Then add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook on medium for at least ten minutes. Vegetables should soften, onions should start to look clear. We cooked the vegetables for at least 15 minutes, stirring often. Once veg is cooked, add the minced garlic. Stir for about a minute. Do not let the garlic brown – garlic is easy to burn. Stir frequently while you’re cooking the garlic.

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Once the garlic has had a little bit of time with the vegetables, add the beans, stock, rosemary, bay leaf and water.

Bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute. Bring down to a simmer, and let the soup simmer for 20 – 25 minutes. While this is happening, wash, trim and chop your kale up! After the soup has been simmering for a while, stir in the kale.

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Add the can of tomatoes too.

Bring back to a simmer and cook for a while longer. I think we let the soup cook for another 20 minutes. I also added a little bit of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper (a decent amount – we love freshly ground pepper in this house!), smoked paprika, and a pinch of oregano.

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After we took the soup off of the heat, we let it sit for a few minutes. Then I removed the bay leaf and served the soup up:

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I think some parmesan cheese might have been nice on top. We enjoyed the soup with the pinot noir and slices of Wegman’s rosemary olive oil bread. It was a fabulous soup – one of the reasons I love fall nights. It was cool – or down right crisp – outside. We had the windows open, and enjoyed the warm soup so much.

I hope your work week is off to a productive start. See you later in the week to talk cuisine!

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