Some people are calling kale the new spinach. (Pound for pound kale has up to 120 percent more vitamin C and 150 percent more vitamin A than spinach.)
Others are calling it the new beef. (Kale is richer in iron, fiber and omega fatty acids than beef.)
And still more are calling it the new bread and milk. (Kale is the the new must-have snowstorm essential.)
I don’t care what people are calling kale. It’s become one of my favorite vegetables for another reason. Not only is kale packed with vitamins and minerals whose health benefits are indisputable, it is very versatile.
If you have any doubts, just ponder this: Kale chips are a great on-the-go snack that are easy to make. The addition of kale to an iceberg salad makes it a nutrition dynamo. And in the case of soup, it goes great with most other vegetables and any number of meats, including chicken and sausage.
And that brings me to today’s recipe, Chicken, Kale and Bean Soup. With two kale plants in our garden that are big producers and a pile of leftover chicken, soup seemed like a logical choice.
That’s what I call a no-brainer!
Chicken, Kale and Bean Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (more or less, to taste)
1 15.8-ounce cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.8-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and roughly chopped into about 2-inch pieces
2 cups fully cooked chicken, cut up or shredded
2 slices bacon, diced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans, chicken broth, water, kale, chicken and thyme. Stir well to combine. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until kale is tender, about 5 minutes.
Serve topped with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Yield: Serve 4 to 6.