Tuscan Bean Soup with Chicken & Kale

The soup you can eat with a fork the next day.

Chef Sacco's Inspiration

When I was growing up, pasta e fagioli was a staple in my household during the cold winter months. It was one of my favorites, especially the next day when the pasta had time to soak up all the liquid and it became more of a stew that you could eat with a fork. I would pile on the grated Pecorino Romano so that I had some on every bite – my bowl looked like a snowy mountain peak.  Both my mom and dad would make it, until I learned how to cook.  Each of us making it a little different than the other.  My mom followed a strict recipe, my dad and I went by the motto… a little of this, a little of that.

Years later, when I learned I was gluten intolerant, one of the first things that came to mind was, NO PASTA?!?!?!  Wait, that means NO PASTA E FAGIOLI!!!  But that didn’t stop me.  With the addition of more beans and more tomato paste, I was able to come up with a dish I think is far better than both my mom and dad’s (I hope they don’t read this!) 

I love all the textures in this dish, the chunks of chicken thighs, large pieces of chopped kale and the garbanzo beans (one of my all-time favorite beans.)  It takes a lot of seasoning to get it just right, so I start out with a measured amount of seasoning and then I wing it by adding a little more of each spice until I think it is perfect!  Careful with the salt!

By all means throw in whatever veggies you have and like.  I had some diced carrots in my fridge that needed to be used and threw them in –they add even more texture and a bit of sweetness. 

I love having this for a few days, so I make a big pot of it.  I bring some to work for lunch and always bring extra to heat up for the team.  I love sharing!

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You'll need:

Equipment: 3.5qt Soup Pot

Shopping List

Misc.
Olive Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot)
2 qts Organic Chicken Broth
2-25oz cans Organic Garbanzo Beans (drained and rinsed)
1-25oz can Organic Dark Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
6oz can Organic Tomato Paste

Meat
2lbs Boneless Skinless Organic Chicken Thighs (cut into bite sized pieces)

Produce
2 large Organic Carrots, peeled and diced ¼”
1 bunch Organic Kale (remove leaves from stems. Discard stems. Rip leaves into bite size pieces)
1 small Spanish (Yellow) Onion, minced
8 cloves Peeled Garlic (sliced into coins)

Spices (combine all the spices together in a bowl and mix well)
2 Tbsp. Granulated Garlic
2 Tbsp. Parsley
1 Tbsp. Oregano
2 Tbsp. Basil
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper

Topping
Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Directions

Coat the bottom of the pot with oil and turn the heat onto med-high. 

Add garlic and saute until slightly golden, do not brown the garlic it will make the dish tastes bitter.

Add onions and sweat for about 3 minutes or until translucent.

Add carrots and sweat for 3 minutes.

Add chicken and season with some of the spice mixture (less than half).

Add tomato paste, beans and remaining spice mixture and stir well.

Add chicken broth and stir.

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 25 minutes.

Taste for seasoning.  Don’t be afraid to add a little more if you feel it needs it.  I always use this ratio 2:2:2:1 - Granulated Garlic, Parsley, Basil, Oregano.

You should always add SALT on its own.  Do small amounts, like a pinch at a time.  Taste it after every pinch.  The last thing you want to do is over salt the dish. I never use salt from a salt shaker--you have less control of how much goes in.  I always keep a small ramekin of salt on my stove so it is always there when I need it.  You can always add more salt, you can’t ever take any back.

Stir in the kale at 25 minutes and cook for 5 more minutes.

Serve in bowls and top with grated Pecorino Romano Cheese. Yum!

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