Spanish-Style White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup

In the early '90s, I went on a weeklong press trip to Spain. Other than learning everything there is to know about olive oil, the stated purpose of our trip, all we did for a week was eat ourselves silly and drink many bottles of beautiful Spanish wine. Not surprisingly, I fell in love with Spanish cuisine. Based on impeccably fresh ingredients, it is gutsy, flavorful, and simple.

Recipe courtesy Sara Moulton, Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, Broadway Books, 2002
TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 45 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 2 hr 30 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern, rinsed and picked over
  • 8 1/2 cups chicken stock, (preferably homemade)
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably Turkish
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Spanish chorizo sausages, about 3/4 pound, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 small bunch kale, about 3/4 pound, tough stems removed, washed well, and coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sherry vinegar, to taste
recipe tools

Directions

Place the beans in a large pot or soup kettle. Pour in 8 cups of the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Cook, partially covered, stirring often and adjusting the heat to keep it at a slow steady simmer, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Soak the saffron in the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate. Add the onion; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the red pepper and the paprika. Cook for 2 minutes longer, then transfer the contents of the skillet to the bean pot. Stir in the saffron with the soaking liquid, the chorizo, and the kale. Bring back to a simmer and cook just until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar, and serve hot in warmed soup bowls.
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