Pod People: Kale and Fresh Cannellini Bean Soup

It seems that I’ve become one of those pod people. I just can’t help myself— fresh legumes show up at my local farmer’s market and I’m spineless. Shells full of chickpeas are too adorable for me to resist. I find myself grabbing pods and pods of flageolet beans when I’m not even planning on being home for dinner! And the other day, I fell for these sweet cannellini.

Unlike my slightly less-than-lifechanging fresh garbanzo experience, it turns out that fresh cannellini beans are quite distinctive and delicious. They get a beautiful creaminess with perfect firm skins after about 20 minutes of simmering.

I threw them into one of our standard sick-day soups: homemade turkey broth, a few smashed cloves of garlic, assorted greens. I added some tortellini, too, though you could also try any other pasta or dumpling.

I grew up in a chicken-soup house—my mother’s matzoh balls would be quite confused to find themselves in any other broth. But Matt grew up in a turkey-soup house, and that’s not a bad thing. Turkey stock is much more flavorful than its chicken counterpart—it has a richness and depth that is unmatched. I made my broth the day before our soup dinner with wings and necks from the farmer’s market, but if you don’t seek those out, at least keep this in mind for your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Kale and Fresh Cannellini Bean Soup
serves 3

35 pods fresh cannellini
3 leeks, ends removed, cleaned carefully
4 cloves garlic, smashed
glug olive oil
4 quarts homemade turkey stock
1 bunch lacinato kale
one package high-quality cheese tortellini
salt to taste

Remove cannellini beans from their pods and discard pods.

Slice leeks into 2-inch lengths, discarding any dry dark green ends. Place cannellini, leeks, and garlic in a 6-qt dutch oven or heavy pot with a small glug of olive oil. Saute two minutes, then add turkey stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15-20 minutes, then check beans for doneness. They should be creamy and soft inside, though the skins will still have some strength.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions.

When the beans are cooked, slice kale into ribbons and add to soup pot, reducing to low. Simmer until kale is tender, add salt to taste and serve with a few tortellini in each bowl.

In beans, fall, soup, turkey

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