This brisk weather is not what I had in mind when I waxed poetic about spring the other day. It does, however, give me an excuse to attempt this delicious soup that has been simmering in my thoughts for awhile now.
It all started when my mom, on a trip to Little Rock last fall, had the audacity to ask the good people of Whole Foods to let her choose two 16 oz. soups for the price of the 32 oz. When that was not amenable to them, she didn't just get her soup and go as I would have done. She pressed on, asking to combine two of the soups into one 32 oz. container. If it had been me, I would have looked wistfully at the lentil soup only to fill my soup container with the white bean and kale soup and then set off on my way. But not my mom. She always asks the question. She got that container of lentil soup combined with white bean and kale soup...and she said it was delicious.
So, I decided to make it myself. When I told my husband that the soup he was about to consume was of my own creation, he raised his eyebrows. But guess what? We both thought it was pretty yummy too. Here is the recipe for Lentil & Kale Soup with Slow Cooker White Beans (adapted from this Whole Foods recipe).
Slow Cooker White Beans
2 cups dried great northern beans
2 teaspoons onion salt
3 springs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
Sort and rinse beans, then soak them overnight to ensure they become soft and tender. Drain and rinse your beans. Combine the ingredients in a large crockpot. Cover with water by about 2 inches. Mix together well and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Cool beans and store them in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Lentil & Kale Soup with Slow Cooker White Beans
8 cups vegetable broth
1 package of brown lentils
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 tsp chili powder
2 cups Crockpot White Beans (alternately, you can use 2 cans of white beans)
1 bunch of kale with stems and hard ribs removed, roughly chopped or torn
Heat 3/4 cup broth over medium-high heat in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, then add onion, garlic, carrots and pepper; cook about 8 minutes until vegetables are tender and onion is translucent. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add lentils, tomatoes and remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Add kale, cover and cook until kale is softened and wilted and lentils are almost tender, about 5 more minutes. Uncover, add beans and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve.