I truly took pleasure in preparing this stew. It’s satisfying to know that it will nourish our bodies tonight and for the next few days as leftovers. Each chop and aroma was appreciated and savored. Fresh herbs and spices filled the kitchen space as it bubbled on the stove top. I’m thankful that we have the means and knowledge to select and prepare the ingredients. When the heat breaks, I look forward to frequenting the farmer’s market once again to score newly harvested, locally grown veggies.
A hearty stew or soup never fails to warm my spirit and make me nostalgic for family and seasons past. [We would inevitably gather in the kitchen: stirring, laughing, chatting.] It’s one of my favorite meals to cook (and eat!) and has become a staple in the vegetarian dinner night section of our meal plan.
I adapted this recipe from a local health food store which we frequented when we lived in Richmond, VA called Good Foods Grocery. I was hesitant to use kale since up to that point I liked to eat it only one way (saute), and Opie’s preferred way to eat it was no way. However, I gave it that old college try, and guess what…We both liked it. A lot. Kale and all(!) The greens along with the beans take on the flavors of the herbs, spices, garlic, and broth. I like to add extra red pepper flakes for a zesty flavor and peppery heat, which makes the cheese a requirement to quell the flames. Crusty bread makes for a nice accompaniment. I hope you give it a try. The heartiness and deliciousness may surprise you!
Sunny Garden Stew
(a.k.a. White Bean and Kale Stew) adapted from Good Foods Grocery wellness articles
Serves 4. (Oftentimes I double the recipe to ensure leftovers.)
3 – 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes – [I use at least 1 teaspoon to get the flames going!]
4 – 5 cups (packed) thinly sliced kale (about 1 large bunch) – [I tear it by hand, but it’s probably much quicker with a knife.]
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken (or veggie) broth
1 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 Tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons fresh
1 pound white beans, drained and rinsed – [I like to use organic Great Northern beans.]
1 pound diced tomatoes
freshly ground pepper to taste
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for garnish, or your favorite Italian cheese(s)
In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil and garlic cloves over low heat for about 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, kale, apple cider vinegar, and broth. Then bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, adding basil and oregano. Cover and simmer until the kale wilts, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.
Serve the stew in bowls, garnished with cheese. Dip crusty bread at leisure and take pride in your culinary skills.