Bacon makes everything better…
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Smoked Bacon
Yield: 4 servings
1 bunch curly kale
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 slices smoked bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices (3/4 cup)
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled andminced (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons)
3 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised with your fingers
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
2 (16-ounce) cans white kidney beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop roughly. You should have approximately 6 packed cups of kale.
Add the bacon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small pot. Place over medium-low heat and cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off, and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.
Add the onions, stir occasionally, and continue to cook until soft and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Using a piece of butcher’s twine, tie together the rosemary, thyme sprigs and bay leaves; toss the herbs in the pot.
Stir in the beans, kale, and stock.
Cover and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the beans are soft and the kale is cooked through.
Remove the tied herbs and discard. Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional vinegar.
Serve in bowls. Shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the soup with a vegetable peeler, then top with a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper.