Escarole and White Bean Soup- A Simple Dinner on a Rainy Day
The other evening, I posted this picture of my dinner to Instagram. It had been a dreary and rainy day and this simple soup was my comfort food at the end of it.
Several people asked for a recipe, so I decided to share this one I found in Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen cookbook, on my blog.
I didn't use a recipe for my soup because I've made it so many times that I don't need one. It's easy to make. The recipe in Lidia's book is basically the same way I make mine though, with the exception that I had 1 carrot in the refrigerator and didn't want it to go to waste. I chopped it up and tossed it in the pot to cook with the beans. Search for the recipe on Google as well. I'm sure there are many variations online.
Escarole and White Bean Soup-
1 1/2 cups cannellini, Great Northern, baby lima, or other small dried white beans
*If you don’t have time to soak the dried beans (several hours before), use Two 15-ounce cans of white beans. Your total cook time will be less than if you are using the dried beans.
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the finished soup
6 cups coarsely shredded escarole leaves, washed and drained
8 cloves garlic peeled and cut in half
4 to 6 whole dried pepperoncini (hot red peppers)
*I sometimes use a couple of pinches of the dried hot red pepper flakes when I don’t have the whole ones. When I do, I don’t remove the peppers from the pan as it is suggested below.
Makes 6 servings
Drain the beans that have been soaking and transfer them to a 5 or 6 quart pot. Pour in 2 quarts of water, toss in the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to simmering, pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and cook until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. By the time the beans are tender, they should be covered by about 1 inch of cooking liquid. Season the beans to taste with salt. Stir in the escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole is quite tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, shaking the pan, until lightly browned. Add the whole pepperoncini and cook, shaking the pan, just until the peppers change color, about 1 minute or less. Remove from the heat, and carefully- it will sputter quite a bit- pour one ladleful of soup into the skillet. Swirl the pan to blend the two, then stir the panful of seasoned soup back into the large pot. Check the seasoning and let the soup rest off the heat, covered, 10 to 15 minutes.
Buon Appetito and be sure to serve this soup with some good bread!