Guys. I asked for beans for Christmas. I’ve been on a huge bean kick lately, but asking for beans for Christmas is a bit much, right? In my defense, I asked for some really nice beans that would become my… you know, special beans. Much to my delight on Beanmas morning, I unwrapped a large box that contained a variety of Rancho Gordo beans, along with a stray bag of Italian corona beans from a local market. I was instantly drawn to the corona beans because they are huge! See:
I had some leftover peasant bread from Alexandra Cooks, so I cracked open a bag of my special corona beans and put them to good use. Corona beans really fatten up when cooked and hold their shape well. I still have a cup or so of uncooked coronas left and plan to use the rest to make this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. If you can’t find corona beans in your area, any white bean is a good substitute for this soup. If big chunks of bread aren’t your style, add the bread before the beans, remove the bay leaf, and pulse with an immersion blender for a tomato/bread puree. After that, add the beans and kale. It’s almost dinner time, and I’m off to heat up the rest of this soup!
Bread Soup with Corona Beans
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
3 cups of broth, vegetable or chicken
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups of cooked Italian corona beans (or any white beans)
2 cups kale, torn into bite sized pieces
2 cups of toasted stale bread, cut into cubes
parmigiano reggiano, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
Over medium heat, add oil to a large stockpot or dutch oven. Dice an onion, then toss them into the pot, stirring frequently.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, cut up the stale bread into bite-sized cubes. Add them to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat each piece. Bake for 10 minutes. Go back to the cutting board and chop up the garlic. If the onions have softened, add the garlic to the pot. If not, wait a couple minutes. Stir garlic until fragrant and add the diced tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then let the soup simmer.
Check on the bread cubes, turn them over and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes. Once the pieces are golden brown, remove them from the oven and set aside.
After the soup has been simmering for 10-15 minutes, add the beans, kale, and bread. The bread cubes will absorb a lot of the liquid, so feel free to add more broth (or water) here if necessary. Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes, season with more salt and pepper if necessary, before ladling into bowls. Serve with grated parmigiano reggiano, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.