¼ C olive oil
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ C tomato paste
½ c dry white wine
1 C sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
4 bay leaves
2 t dried thyme
2 t dried oregano
½ t fennel seeds
1 t red pepper flakes
1 pound northern beans, rinsed and soaked for several hours or overnight
8 C chicken stock
1 – 5 ounce container of baby kale
In a preheated soup pot, add oil and rosemary sprigs. Allow rosemary to gently simmer while it flavors the oil. Once leaves start to look a little dry, add onion and garlic. Add a spritz of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Continue to sauté until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste and continue to sauté. You want the paste to deepen in color. Some brown bits on the bottom of the pan are desirable. BROWN = FLAVOR, I once heard someone say. Good. Careful not to burn the paste, but allow enough time for deeper color to develop. Natural sugars are being extracted. This step renders a great deal of flavor. Don’t be in a hurry! Once you have sufficient brown bits, add your wine for deglazing. Allow the wine to evaporate creating a nice thick sauce. See the picture! The addition of the wine adds a nice acidic element too. At this point, the remainder of the ingredients, except the kale, can be added. Bring soup to a boil and reduce heat and cover pot and allow soup to simmer for several hours. Obviously, tender beans are the goal. The cooking time can vary depending on how long you soak the beans and also how old the beans are. (We once cooked some garbanzo beans for days, it seemed, and they still were not tender.) Prior to serving, add kale and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, add more stock. Serve with freshly grated parmesan, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of EVOO. A nice crusty crostini is great for dipping.
Most soups benefit from an overnight stay in your fridge. Flavors fully develop and blossom. Plan ahead. Better flavor results, in most cases, when you give soup a chance to rest.
Also, hopefully no one is using an aluminum soup pot. Acidic elements can yield undesirable tastes when you are cooking with aluminum. Stainless is the ticket.