Get to Know Your Greens | Escarole + Escarole & White Bean Soup
While soup might be one of those dishes this time of year that you wouldn’t think of eating, there are those cooler evenings, maybe at the beach or in the country where you want something cozy to eat. This is where this recipe comes in! It is technically a soup, but you can vary the amount of broth you want to use since essentially this recipe doesn’t call for any. Rather, here dried white beans get cooked in their soaking liquid along with sage and garlic and eventually turns into a broth. Add some escarole and this dish is a healthy lunch of dinner option. So what is escarole? It’s a member of the chicory family and while it looks like delicate lettuce, it actually is quite hardy and can be sautéed, braised, grilled or enjoyed raw. As is, it has a slightly bitter flavor, but once you cook with it that facet mellows out. It’s chock full of nutrition including Vitamin A, C and K and is also rich in iron and fiber.
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Escarole and White Bean Soup
1 pound dried cannellini beans
4 whole garlic cloves
2 springs of fresh sage (about 8 to 10 leaves)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 onion, finely chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 head escarole, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Sage blossoms, for garnish
Directions: Place white beans in a large pot. Cover with 7 cups water, bring to a boil for one minute, then turn off the stove and cover with a lid. Let sit for 2 hours. Once set, drain liquid and cover beans with another 7 cups of water. Add sage leaves, garlic and salt. Cook for 1 1/2 to to 2 hours until beans are soft. In a small sauté pan, add onion and remaining garlic cloves with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Over medium heat, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour into beans and stir to combine. Add escarole and stir to combine and cook until greens are tender. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sage blossoms if desired.
Photography by Alison Engstrom