Escarole and White Bean Soup
If you say the word “escarole” Mr. B’s face lights up like a kid running loose in the cereal aisle. His love for this uncommon leafy green harkens back to his days living alone as a bachelor in downtown Chicago. Winters in the Windy City were frequently long, cold, and dark. Lacking a wonderful wife to cook him braised short-ribs, minestrone, or a roasted lemon chicken, he ordered up his comfort in the form of a white bean and escarole soup from Salerno’s. They even delivered.
Years later, when we were dating, it began to look as if he might be eating dinner with me for the rest of his life. Mr. B decided “we” should learn how to make a white bean and escarole soup. At the time I was delighted that he wanted to tackle another project in the kitchen and curious to try a new vegetable. Now, wiser to his ways, I realize he wanted to ensure he could still get his favorite soup whenever the weather called for comfort. Luckily I fell in love with both Mr. B and his white bean and escarole soup.
Escarole and White Bean Soup (Printable Recipe)
Serves 4 as a Main Course
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Lemon, juiced
1 California Bay leaf
1 sprig fresh Rosemary, stem removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 Parmesan rind
10 cups Chicken broth
1 large bunch of Escarole, washed and cut into big strips
4 cups cooked White beans (I used Mayacobas)
Freshly grated Parmesan
In a large stockpot over medium heat, add oil, onion, and garlic. Saute the vegetables until they are tender, about five minutes. Add lemon juice, bay leaf, rosemary, Parmesan rind, and chicken broth to the pot. Bring liquid to a gentle simmer, cover pot with a lid, and cook for 25 minutes. Next, use a fork to pull any softened cheese off the Parmesan rind into the soup. Discard the remaining rind and the bay leaf. Add the beans and escarole to the pot, cover, and continue to simmer the soup for 10 minutes until the escarole is wilted and tender. Turn off the heat, and taste the soup adding salt and pepper as necessary. Serve the soup with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.