Tuscan bean and kale soup

There is just a thing about soup. Something about both making it and eating it, where it’s this delightful, warming, comforting thing. The whole experience is the closest you can come to having your cake and eating it too because it’s fulfilling before you’ve even had it, and still after it’s gone. And people have been onto this for a long time. Everyone kind of gets it. I even spent half my adolescence reading never-ending iterations of Chicken Soup for the Soul/Teenage Soul/Cat-lover’s Soul/Bae’s Soul books. (Remember those?)

So one thing I’ve got to hand to fall and the changing of seasons around here is the sudden onset of desire for hearty soups, slow-braised meats, and (goblets of) red wine. I love that about this time of year, and it makes my near-disdain for all other winter things cold and dark just slightly more tolerable. Just call me Scrooge :) But not for Christmas—Christmas is the only other thing I love about an Upstate New York winter.

I jumped at last Sunday’s opportune set up for soup making. I had nowhere to be, and it was gray and rainy outside. I took my time peeling, rinsing, chopping, and dicing. I poured myself a glass of the stuff I was cooking with (a must). And I took my time, smelling all the smells and feeling all the feels. I love making soup.

And then, in the most ideal turn of events, it was right back to being sunny and 85 degrees the next day. We dipped our toes into fall, and that’s about all I need.

Tuscan bean and kale soup

Yields 5-6 servings
3 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp Mediterranean oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp celery salt, plus an extra pinch
Lots of black pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 T finely chopped thyme
1 T finely chopped rosemary
2 T Dijon mustard
1 cup dry white wine
15.5 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1 dried bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
3-4 cups roughly chopped Dinosaur (or Tuscan) kale (I used top stems too, but you can just use leaves if you prefer)
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp or more)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving

Add oil to a Dutch oven or other large pot, and heat on medium. Add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook for 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent and vegetables soften. Halfway through cooking, add in spices and stir to distribute. For the last minute of cooking, add in garlic, thyme, rosemary, and Dijon and cook, stirring until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add wine and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in beans and bay leaf (as well as kale if you're using the stems, too), followed by chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If you're just using the kale leaves, add in kale for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Add salt to taste, and more freshly cracked black pepper. Serve in bowls with tons of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano grated over the top, and crostini for dipping.