It's ridiculously cold here. Twenty something degrees! And the thing is, it's only December. I fear January. And I'm terrified of March. (February has always been one of those easy peasy months in my mind because it's so nice and short.) Besides the hectic pace of the holiday season (interwoven with little reminders like "stop the madness and smell the roses," which is totally easier said than done), we have been struck down by some unkind stomach virus chez moi. I have two things to say on the matter: first, I'm incredibly grateful that it was only the 24 hour variety. And second, I'm so fortunate to have a babysitter who is loving and patient, good spirited and also amazing with sick kids. She didn't blink an eye when my son lost his lunch all over her. Seriously. #Feelingblessed.
Naturally, after a bout with any kind of stomach thing, bland and basic is always best. So for my son, it was all toast and oatmeal. But the grownups need to eat too. I threw together this soup and it hit the spot. It was hearty and comforting after an exhausting day. It was warm and filling after facing the bitter cold. And it was delicious, thanks to simple ingredients.
4 ounces of bacon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bunch of green leafy kale, chopped
8 cups of water
1 can of navy beans (or white beans)
1 bay leaf
1 rind of parmesan
dash of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes
salt to taste
Fry the bacon in a soup pot for several minutes until the edges begin to brown. Turn off the heat, remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. When the bacon has cooled, chop into smaller pieces and add back to the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add garlic and kale and stir. After about 2 minutes, add water, beans, bay leaf and parmesan leaf. Simmer with lid on for about 40 minutes (or longer). Add cayenne pepper and salt if desired. Enjoy!
*Note: for a richer soup, use chicken broth instead of water and feel free to add grated parmesan when you serve soup.
My other favorites for cold weather: