Winter is here in Hawaii.... we had our first storm with rain for two days. It got down to a "bone chilling" 70 degrees last night and it only crept up to 78 degrees yesterday. Yes, that is what we call winter here on the big island. A little wind and rain... and the seasons have changed. Naturally when the day is rainy and a bit cooler than the norm, our thoughts go to soup. My chef/food writer friend in South Carolina, Nathalie Dupree had just been talking about her soup evolution, wherein a stock starts out with one flavor component, then you add something to it and then next day change it up again by adding other ingredients. That is the way I like to make soup too. This time it started out with a plump rotisserie chicken I picked up when I spent 5 hours driving to and from Kona. I was too tired to make a full dinner, so the chicken with some leftover mashed potatoes and peas made a nice easy dinner. I reserved one breast for chicken salad and then plopped the whole carcass in the stock pot overnight. along with some sauteed carrots, onion and garlic. I put it on the simmer burner and in the morning, wonderful stock was ready to strain. I refrigerated it for a couple of days. Sometimes I reduce it down to a concentrate and freeze it. If you are making this soup and do not want to make your own stock, you can use high quality low salt stocks in the boxes that you can find in any health food store or grocery store. If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, you can also use vegetable stock. Of course then you also have to leave out the ham hocks and the Portuguese sausage. I sometimes divide the pot of soup up and add some pasta to this soup on a second day. If you are adding pasta, you should only add as much as you will eat that day or your pasta will absorb the liquid of the soup. You can change out the veggies, but you need onion and garlic. Fennel and celery make nice additions.
Tuscan Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup Hawaiian Style
8 cups of chicken stock (preferably home made)
2 smoked ham hocks (optional)
1 onion rough chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 carrots rough chopped
2 small zucchini halved and sliced
1 large Portuguese Sausage (these are mostly only available in Hawaii, you can use smoked polish sausage as a replacement)
1 can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes
4 cups of cooked Cannellini beans
2 large bunches of Kale rough chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley rough chopped
additional water if needed
salt and black pepper to tasted
Croutons or day old bread
In a large stock pot sauté the onion, garlic and carrot till the onions just start to caramelize. Add the ham hocks and chicken stock, then the other veggies, beans and sausage. Cook for at least 45 minute on simmer. Add the parsley and stir. Place a few croutons or dried bread chunks in the bowl.
Top with Parmesan and additional parsley.
This serves 8-12 people depending on the size of the bowls.