Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kale and Chickpea Soup

Back to food in this post!

Cavolo Nero looking blue in the early morning

I love the combination of beans and greens and put them together in a number of different ways. A recent combo was in the form of soup. The pressure cooker is my favorite way of preparing bean soups, especially chickpeas since they take so long to cook. I use the boil 1 minute, soak 1 hour method of presoaking beans. I just used water for this soup, if you want a more full flavored soup use stock instead.

We had this soup for dinner two nights this past week and I had it for lunch yesterday and it just kept tasting better and better each time. All gone now :(

Cavolo Nero and Chickpea Soup

1/2 pound dried chickpeas, presoaked
2 small true bay leaves
2 small branches fresh thyme
2 1/2 ounces guanciale or pancetta or bacon, cut into lardons
olive oil as needed
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and pureed or about 2 cups tomato puree
1 pound Cavolo Nero kale, ribs removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 or more cups of diced roasted chicken (or leftover meat or poultry of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling

In a 5 quart pressure cooker, add water to cover the presoaked chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Add the bay leaves and whole thyme branches to the pot. Cover and bring up to high pressure, adjust the heat to maintain pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally (let it sit off the heat).

While the chickpeas are cooking, saute the tasty salted pig parts in some olive oil over medium heat until they start to crisp. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato puree and cook a few minutes more. Add the kale and toss. Remove from the heat and set aside.

The chickpeas should be nearly tender, if not cook some more, under pressure a few more minutes or cover the cooker with the lid not locked in place. If the beans are old it may take much longer. For the next step the beans should be nearly tender but not falling apart.

Add the contents of the saute pan to the cooker, stir it in and add enough water to cover everthing generously but not so much that you can't bring the cooker up to pressure again. (I used at least 2 quarts of water in total but didn't measure so I can't specify). Lock lid in place and bring up to high pressure again, adjust the heat to maintain pressure and cook another 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. The chickpeas should now be falling apart tender and the kale quite tender as well. Use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas to a chunky puree right in the cooker. Stir in the diced chicken. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a generous drizzle of your favorite olive oil (I used McEvoy's Olio Nuovo).


  1. That is my favorite kind of kale. And I am pressure cooker afficianado. This sounds good but not with pig parts or chicken for me, thanks. I would definitely make a good veggie stock for it.

  2. I am so coming to visit you someday to eat some of your food! It is inspiring to read about. :-)

  3. Susan, I would be happy to prepare a meal for you and share it any time! So, when can I expect you?

  4. Hi Susan, I am not much of a cook at all. I am very lazy in that regard. Coming here puts me to shame...but, I can always visit when I am in need of a new meal idea. My family would love me for it!! Thanks for your great ideas. Jan


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