Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Making the kale & white bean soup with ‘nduja

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I blogged my recipe considerations and now have made the stew. See post at the link for the recipe.

I decided to save the ribs from the lacinato kale for another dish: I can mince them and steam or sauté with something. So I used only the kale leaves (no stalks), which I cut into 1″ pieces. I did let the kale rest for 45 minutes after cutting. I used two of the spring shallots, and I decided to save the shallot leaves along with the kale ribs for whatever I do with that.

I used one large head of garlic instead of the two small heads of red Russian garlic, and after chopping the cloves let them rest along with the kale, so they got 45 minutes instead of the usual 15 minutes.

I totally forgot the tomatoes. Maybe next time, but maybe not: it’s so good the way it is. I also forgot the marjoram, basil, and spearmint. I do think I’ll skip those.

I made the gremolata while the kale and garlic were resting. (Since I use a single burner, I must time things.) It’s delicious. I used Panko bread crumbs, of course.

The recipe inexplicably asks you to use a wooden spoon to smash about a quarter of the beans. That seems way too much work. After I poured the (drained, rinsed) beans into the pot, they of course made a layer on the bottom. It was easy to use a potato masher to mash 1/4 of that layer, measured by eye: one-quarter of the disk of beans. Unlike a wooden spoon, the potato masher is designed for the task. Or you could put a quarter of the beans in a food processor and process them, or put them in the beaker that comes with an immersion blender and blend them — and in fact, that’s what I’ll do when I make it again.

After smashing a fourth of the beans, I added the stock (vegetable low-sodium for me), then dumped in the cooked barnyard millet since I had used only 36 oz of beans instead of the 45 oz the recipe specifies. I was thinking that the next time I would use 3 cans of beans to make the soup thicker, but in fact the beans (1/4 of them smashed) plus millet plus simmering for 15 minutes did produce a thick soup.

I suggest using a little more ‘nduja than the recipe calls for. And I definitely suggest dicing the ‘nduja before adding to the pot — breaking it up with a spoon is awkward and somewhat difficult. Dicing it before adding it to the pot would make that task easier. The potato masher might work here as well. (I wonder at the over-reliance on wooden spoons in the recipe. I used my potato masher to smash beans and I used my cherrywood spatula for everything else.)

However, I plan to skip the ‘nduja altogether — and thus skip all the animal fat — and replace it with a paste of crushed Calabrian chili peppers. That eliminates the meat from the recipe, and that is a health benefit. I will then increase the amount of olive oil from 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup to make up for the fat eliminated along with the ‘nduja. And since the taste is in the peppers, not in the meat, this substitution should work well.

I cooked the kale somewhat longer than the 30 seconds the recipe suggests — more like 4-5 minutes.

It’s extremely tasty. The gremolata adds a lot, so don’t skip that.

Photo below on left shows the beans after they have simmered 15 minutes — the soup did thicken. The photo on the right is after kale was added and had cooked down some. Change in coloring may be artifact of lighting, or the photo on the left was made with no stirring, with the orange ‘nduja fat floating on the surface.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2021 at 5:49 pm

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