Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter vegetables: kale, white bean and pasta soup

I just shot the cover for a cookbook on winter vegetables. I created a vegetable still life for the shoot and, in order to do so, bought quite a few vegetables. I always cull through all the options to find just the ones I think will photograph well and then add many for backup - just in case. The result was that after the shoot, I ended up with a refrigerator literally teaming with vegetables including onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and winter greens including kale and cabbage. I am always determined not to waste the food I shoot and I quickly devised a list of dishes that could make best use of the hearty photography models. A series of winter soups were obvious candidates. The first creation? A kale, white bean and pasta soup seasoned with Parmesan and spicy Harissa. I have since made a beef stew (a take on this one), and today, a celery root, potato and leek soup - all so delicious and in the spirit of the season. What do I have left? Russet and fingerling potatoes, beets, more cabbage and kale. Any suggestions?

Kale, white bean and pasta soup

1 lb+ Kale, thick center stems removed, chopped roughly
1 lb dried cannellini beans (note: for faster cooking time, soak beans overnight)
1 26 oz can chopped tomatoes (I like Pomi brand)
1 large onion, diced
3 medium-sized carrots, diced
3 turnips, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus rind
1 cup small pasta
1 Tbs Harissa
2 Tbs olive oil
8 cups water (or half water, half vegetable stock)
1 small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped roughly
Salt and pepper

Sweat carrots, onions and celery in olive oil with a healthy sprinkling of pepper until translucent. Add turnips and saute for a few minutes.

Add water, tomatoes and dried beans and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer. Add Parmesan, Parmesan rind and Harissa (note: Harissa is very spicy - if you do not enjoy spicy soup, reduce quantity or omit Harissa).

Simmer for 45 - 90 minutes until beans are just tender (timing will depend on whether you soaked the beans overnight). Add additional water, cup by cup if soup is too thick. Add pasta, kale and sprinkle liberally with salt. Add additional Harissa or pepper to taste.

Cook until pasta is barely tender (it will continue to cook once you have removed the soup from the heat). Again, add additional water if thinner soup is desired. Remove and discard parmesan rind. Add Italian parsley. Serve with some nice, rustic bread.


Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

Beautiful photo and the soup sounds wonderful! It is fun to figure out what to make with the randomness that is somethings in my vegetable drawer.

Kelly said...

Sounds delicious. I'm realizing that I must try cooking with Harissa. I've heard great things about it but have never actually used it. Beautiful photo as well.

oneordinaryday said...

Amazing photo. I'm bookmarking to try this as soon as I get my hands on some kale. Thanks for sharing it.

Fra said...

Wonderful soup! I love the use of same mediterranean ingredients and oriental spice...great idea

mom said...

What a beautiful pairing of foods and color palette - the board and bowl and soup are a physical delight, muted and inviting; great winter comfort meal.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Just the perfect mood and ingredients for fall Sabra!

Unknown said...

I tried a similar recipe with Amy and loved the peppery taste the kale added. I never heard of harissa before. Thanks for the link to it. We just used red pepper. Harissa sounds much more exotic. We'll try it next time.

larryb said...

Deliciously decadent. Gorgeous soup and serving bowl/plate. Perfect with a hunk of cornbread slathered with honey.

Simones Kitchen said...

What a beautiful soup Sabra! I just made a stew myself and you're so right that it is the right kind of season for food like that!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

I will be making this soup oneday this week--sound so good!! I really enjoy your blog.

Tracy :)

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

I will be making this soup oneday this week--sound so good!! I really enjoy your blog.

Tracy :)

Raquelita said...

Love, love, love your photography. It inspires me :)

Suggestion for the kale: Molly Wizenberg's recipe for kale and parmesan spaghetti on her Cooking Life column for Bon Appetit.

zested said...

Beautiful photo. I love the textures of the bowls and the wood.

Saveur said...

You could try a borscht with your beets, cabbage and russets.

Btw, I love your photography! Keep it up!

Unknown said...

your photos are amazing... my photos are disastrous!!!
sorry for mistakes, but i'm Italian...i save you blog on my favorite link!! xx


shayma @ said...

a beet risotto, perhaps? your photos are always very inspiring.

Helene said...

Beside the photo being drop dead gorgeous, the soup is perfect for Fall (provided we ever get it here. It was 87 today:()

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