I have been making this soup and eating it quite happily at least two nights a week all winter. So when we entered quarantine and I did not have my freezer full of soups at the ready i went into serious withdrawal – aaaand I couldn’t even find a white bean at the grocery store if my life depended on it. SO. a few weeks ago I made the soup but swapped out the white beans for dry ass leftover turkey and it was still darn delicious.
But when my Rancho Gordo beans arrived at last you better believe this was the first thing on my list to make. What I love most and am quite pleased with myself for thinking up, is the puréed cauliflower as a thickener/stock. It adds a depth and flavor you cant put your finger on but keeps the soup from being too heavy handed.
Feel free to throw some other odds and ends in there. Use the pancetta or bacon for extra richness or leave it out if you dont have any on hand or have some vegetarians in your quarantine grouping.
- 1 lb white beans
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 8 oz pancetta or 6 or 7 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces (optional for vegetarians)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup white wine (the kind you would drink but nothing too fancy)
- 2 8oz bags frozen kale
- Cook your beans and cauliflower: It is best to get these two things going well before starting so the rest of the soup can come together quickly (you can even do this a few days in advance). Time will vary on bean size but bet on at least an hour at a nice gentle simmer so as not to end up with a bean mash. Salt the water once they are simmering and cook until just tender.
- Drain the beans but keep the cooking liquid and in that same pot, with the bean liquid you will cook your cauliflower, adding additional water if needed just to cover the cauliflower (you want about 6-8cups of water total)
- Cook the cauliflower until very tender and blend, along with the water in a blender until super smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Start the soup: Heat a large soup pot over med-hi heat and add the pancetta or bacon if using (or just a few tablespoons of oil if not and skip to adding the onion). Let bacon cook, stirring often until all the fat has rendered and it is getting nice and crispy.
- Stir in the onion and garlic, seasoning with salt to help the onion release its liquid. Cook a few minutes then deglaze with the white wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the onions are translucent add the kale, season with more salt and let cook until the kale is no longer frozen and doesn’t seem wet - about 5 minutes.
- Add the beans and puréed cauliflower to the pot and let simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add a touch of water if the soup is too thick for your liking.
- Serve with some crusty bread.