I've often heard TV chefs say that I should save the rinds of hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano to add to soup, but I've never seen a recipe that calls for a cheese rind. That was until I came across this recipe. Of course, I didn't have a left-over Parmigiano-Reggiano rind just sitting around when I decided to make this soup, so I had to cut the rind off a new piece of cheese.
A couple of things attracted me to this soup. First, there was the prospect of using a cheese rind (all right, I done talking about the cheese rind). Then, there's kale, which I love, and kielbasa, which is just delicious.
I almost passed this recipe by, however, when I saw that it called for dried beans. I wanted to make the soup that day, and I didn't have enough time to soak the beans overnight (who plans that far ahead?). So, I was searching on the internets to find a formula for converting canned beans for dried when I came across instructions for quick-soaking dried beans on page 267 of The Book. Problem solved!
This soup isn't too hard to make. Start by cooking some onions and garlic in a little oil. Then add the beans, chicken stock (my own!), water, cheese rind and herbs. Bring to a boil and simmer for just under an hour. Meanwhile, brown the kielbasa (I used turkey kielbasa). The Book says that it's optional ... I say it's required to give the soup some nice substance and a smoky, salty flavor. Add the kielbasa, carrots and kale to the soup and simmer a bit longer. That's it.
The Cook's Note in The Book, which says that the soup is best if made one to two days ahead, is right on the money. The soup was pretty good right after I made it, but it got better and better as I had the leftovers for lunch over the next couple of days. The flavors came together nicely as the soup rested in the refrigerator.
File this soup recipe away for a snowy day in February. It'll warm you right up.
Date Cooked: October 26, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: (immediately after cooking) B; (leftovers) A
2 years ago