Tuesday, October 25, 2011

House-Warming Recipes:Greens, Beans, and Bacon Soup

Recently I made a pretty big decision- I left my tiny 3 room apartment to move in with my boyfriend in a house of our own.  It was a whirlwind decision, so much so that the process hit us harder than we thought it would.  Packing up our relatively separate lives in less than a week, deciding what would stay and what would go, waking up in a new house filled with boxes...it was slightly traumatic to say the least.  One would think that having your own four walls would make you infinitely happier when in fact, it left me feeling lost and overwhelmed.  On top of trying to figure out what direction to take with my career, putting together a house and home was incredibly daunting.  You have to start somewhere and that place for me was of course, the kitchen.  I could easily control the organization, but mostly importantly, I could literally and figuratively feed a part of us that needed some serious nourishing.  At the end of a day of debating where this and that should go, learning how to hang drapes and endless rug shopping, we could sit down to a hot meal that made our house feel more like a home.

The first meal I made in our new house (other than that first week of ramen noodles) was Greens and Beans Soup.  I didn't want to cook creatively, and I wanted something fast, so I found this recipe in an old magazine I had lying around- sounds like I love cooking, huh?  But really, I'd made this before and it is such a wonderful comfort food for me with everything I love: kale, beans, bacon and hot sauce.  Everything about the previous sentence makes me happy.  I takes zero time and makes enough to have plenty of leftovers- a bonus when you're busy!  Now that I think of it, I may have doubled the recipe.  You really can't have enough of this stuff.

3 Slices bacon, cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces
3 cups packed pre-chopped kale
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. chicken broth (recipe calls for garlic chicken broth, but I just minced garlic and threw it in)
Hot Sauce (I'm obligated to say it's optional even though in my opinion, it isn't)

Cook bacon in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, discard all but 2 teaspoons of the rendered fat unless you want it in there for extra flavor.  Add remaining ingredients to the pot, including hot sauce, or if you're like me, just add the hot sauce to each bowl served.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.

I made some crispy skillet cornbread to go with this.  Comfort goal, reached.

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