“French” Fennel Soup with Kale and White Beans

It’s been cold in Dallas… soup weather.  I started a new job in January and it’s not always easy to come home and cook dinner, especially after working 12 hours.  Having a pot of soup in the refrigerator is such a treat!

The problem with soup is that it’s either light, leaving you still hungry, or creamy and heavy, leaving you feeling stuffed.  This soup is light but hearty, sweet but salty, creamy but not rich, it’s the perfect soup to me.

Don’t be tempted to omit the slice of bread and melted cheese on top.  The bread soaks up all of the wonderful flavors and the cheese adds elements of salt and creaminess to the soup that make it so satisfying!

The recipe…

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary, chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. vegetable stock
1 bunch Kale, stemmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 loaf French bread, sliced thickly, grated
1 cup Gruyere cheese (or whatever is on hand)
1 bay leaf
Black pepper

Heat olive oil in large pot and add onions.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add fennel.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 20 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2-3 minute.  It is important to add these 3 ingredients in steps, this helps to build flavors with depth.

Add oregano, rosemary, a pinch of black pepper, and bay leaf.  Stir to incorporate and then add beans and stock.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, uncovered.  Remove the bay leaf and check seasonings. Adjust to salt to taste (I added an extra teaspoon or 2).

Before serving, stir in kale and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Ladle into oven-proof bowls, float slices of bread on each, and cover with cheese.  Put into oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese bubbles and slightly browns.

Careful not to burn your mouth!

… enjoy

*On a side note, sorry about the lack of pictures! I am still adjusting to cooking for a blog!