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It's starting to really get chilly in the city, so I couldn't imagine anything better than being a lounge kitty with some warm, hearty stew and a cup of hot tea. But I wanted a fresher, healthier kind of stew - so I opted for all vegetables. Even so, by using sweet potatoes, mushrooms, toothy beans, and hearty kale, this stew gets some real body.
Winter Bean Stew
1/2 C dried flageolet beans
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 onion, diced (1 C)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 oz portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock - preferably home made! (Also, vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 C kale, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
Drain the beans overnight in water - drain well. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until golden. Remove from pan. Next, saute the mushrooms until golden, about 5 minutes, adding more olive oil if necessary. When the mushrooms are ready, add in the onion and garlic mixture, sweet potatoes, bay leaf, and chicken stock - stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 50 minutes. Add in the kale, and cook another 5 minutes.
Season with fresh pepper and salt if necessary. Ladle into large soup bowls, and ejoy!
As an aside, I must admit - I had an unfair culinary advantage this time around. I had some homemade turkey stock that I had made after Thanksgiving just hanging around in me freezer. And it was made with a SMOKED and dry rubbed turkey carcass. Let me tell you, this made for some darn good winter soup - I had to go back for seconds! Obviously, not everyone has random smoked turkey stock in their freezer, but it's clearly still delicious with chicken or vegetable stock.
But seriously - it's amazing how simple this soup is, both ingredient and cooking wise! Furthermore, even though there are just vegetables in the soup, it's super hearty - and it can even be kept fully vegetarian if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.