After spending the holiday weekend in southern Indiana, I pulled into my driveway to discover the slight smell of fall and the sight of fallen leaves beginning to blanket my lawn.  That night a strong rain storm blew in cooler temperatures that made my bones feel fall’s pending arrival.  To warm my bones and welcome me home, I began filling the cauldron.   This delightful and nourishing soup will surely be a favorite this coming season!

2 c dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
7 c water (divided)
3 medium carrots, chopped (divided)
2 ribs celery, chopped (divided)
1 yellow onion, chopped (divided)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 medium potato, cubed
1-3 tsp sea salt or to taste
1 tsp ground pepper or to taste
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds, ground
4 large kale lacinato leaves, stemmed and chopped

1. Drain beans, rinse well and transfer to a large soup pot,  add 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until beans are tender, 40–45 minutes. Place 1/4 of the beans and their cooking liquid into the blender, set the remaining beans and cooking liquid to the side.

2. In a small pot combine 2 cups water, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery stalk and 1/2 of the onion.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer.  When vegetables are tender, add to the blender of beans and puree.

3. In a large soup pot heat olive oil on medium heat, add garlic and remaining onions, saute for 2 minutes.

4. Then add remaining carrot and celery as well as the potatoes, salt, pepper and bean vegetable puree.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

5.  Once vegetables are tender, turn off heat or turn to low, add kale, fennel and adjust salt/pepper.

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