Great Northern beans or cannellini beans also work well in this soup. Roasted garlic has a flavor entirely different from raw garlic; roasting brings out its sweet, mild, buttery taste. If you make the soup ahead of time, refrigerate, covered, and stir in the kale right before serving. To save time you can use canned beans instead of dry, just omit Step 1, stir in three (15-ounce) cans of beans when adding the kale, and proceed with recipe.
1 1/2 cups dried navy beans, rinsed and picked through
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced (3 cups)
4 celery ribs, diced (1 cup)
10 garlic cloves, roasted
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed, washed, and drained (8 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
Place beans in a Dutch oven; add water 2 inches above beans. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until tender and lightly caramelized. Add celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 more minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 more minute.
Add beans, chicken broth, and next 3 ingredients, and bring mixture to a low boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, until beans are tender. Tear the kale into small pieces, and stir into soup. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until kale is tender; discard bay leaves. Stir in rosemary. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.
Roasting garlic: Place 1 whole garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Wrap tightly with foil, and roast at 400° for 45 minutes or until garlic is soft. Remove from foil, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut away the root end, and squeeze the paste from the garlic, discarding skins.