White Bean and Collard Green Soup

soup tureenAdapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest
Preparation time: 45 minutes to prepare -- most of it simmering time
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

ABOUT THE BEANS: Use any kind of white beans: the smaller navy beans, the medium-sized Great Northern, or the large cannelini. If you're using canned beans, use 2 cans.

ABOUT THE GREENS: The recipe calls for collard greens, but you can also use escarole or spinach--or a comination.

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery, minced
2 medium-sized carrots, diced
2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
6 cups stock or water
3 to 4 cups cooked white beans
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 pounds collard greens, stemmed and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Freshly-grated nutmeg
Finely minced fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat the oil in a kettle or Dutch oven, add the onion, bay leaf, celery, carrots, and salt. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, then add stock or water. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook quietly for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the beans, garlic, and as much of the collard greens as you can fit, cover and wait a few minutes for the greens to cook down. Keep adding greens in batches, waiting between additions for them to cook down, which they ultimately will.
  3. Add black pepper to taste, and adjust the salt. Serve hot, topped with a grating or two of fresh nutmeg, a little parsley, and a generous spoonful of parmesan cheese.
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