Tuscan Bean Soup

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Feb 212012

Tuscan Bean Soup legumesTuscan Bean Soup Recipe with nutritious legumes (beans) is high in protein and fiber and cholesterol free.

Ingredients for Tuscan Bean Soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon or ½ cup cubed ham in ½-inch cubes
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped fennel or celery
Herbs: 4 minced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (alternatively, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning)
Tomatoes: 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes or 10-12 grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
6 cups of cooked cannellini beans or 3 (15 ounce) cans rinsed and drained
(optional) 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh seasonal greens such as kale (excluding tough stems), chard, cabbage or spinach
Fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese

Preparation of Tuscan Bean Soup:

In large soup pot, heat olive oil and add cut bacon or ham. Add chopped onion, fennel or sage, herbs and tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and celery or fennel softens.
Stir in garlic until distributed. Continue stirring to keep garlic from scorching. Avoid browning garlic as it will impart a bitter taste.

Add broth and stir in prepared beans. Bring soup to simmer and reduce heat. Add chopped greens. The kale and chard will need to simmer about 10 minutes, and spinach only needs a minute or less. Kale and chard should be cooked just until tender, retaining their bright color. Serve immediately or hold off adding greens until shortly before serving at a later time to retain their color and flavor. Taste and add additional salt or pepper if you like. Top with cheese, and serve with crusty bread.

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