Whenever I’m feeling a little under the weather, this is what I crave. It’s light and yet hearty, rich and yet not overwhelming, healthy and yet feels indulgent; it’s a gorgeous combination of flavors and textures that I can slurp by the bowlful. It’s a simple soup that makes a huge quantity to have on hand in the freezer and fridge, that requires only a few steps, though they do take some time. The secret is in the broth: I make my own, only when I have a hambone on hand. While you could certainly substitute storebought stock or broth, I urge you to wait to make this soup until you have a leftover ham to use up—along with its bone. And hey, what better excuse to have a ham? Easter is coming up, is all I’m sayin’.
- 1 pound dried Cannellini beans
- 3 quarts ham broth (recipe below)
- 2 bunches kale, roughly chopped, about 6-7 cups
- 3 cups diced leftover ham (I use organic, smoked heritage hams)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
While the broth is cooking, rinse the dried beans and look them over to sift out anything unwanted. In a medium saucepot, add the beans and water to cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow the beans to simmer for an hour and a half, or until they’re tender and soft. Drain the water and set aside.
To make the soup, add the ham broth, the diced ham, onion, and rosemary to a large stockpot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow the soup to cook for 30-45 minutes, until the flavors have blended and the onions are soft. Add the kale, stirring to wilt until you can add all of it. Cook 15 minutes longer, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
For the Broth
- 1 large hambone
- 4-5 stalks celery, including the leaves
- 5 carrots
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 bulb garlic
- ½ bunch parsley, about 8 sprigs
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- Sea salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and allow the broth to cook 4-5 hours. Carefully strain the broth and use immediately or freeze for another use.