join me in the kitchen

Escarole Soup


Wow–it has been a while!  It has been a whirlwind of a summer and the reason for my recent absence is that my husband and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Spain.  We had a really fantastic time and I have returned so inspired and excited to get cooking with some newly acquired Mediterranean perspective!   We ate so much delicious food and I cannot wait to recreate some of the dishes.

With so many family birthdays and exciting celebrations of all sorts during the summer, I spent quite a bit of my time baking, as you can tell:

Yikes!  Though it seems counterintuitive to spend so many hours indoors baking in a hot kitchen during the peaks of summer heat, in an odd way, it makes some sense.  Summer tends to be a time of indulgence.  Ice cream becomes a priority and my husband plays on 2-3 softball teams each summer, which prevent regular balanced sit-down dinners each night.  Also, when the weather is nice and there are more hours of sunlight we are less likely to sprint home immediately after work to settle in and eat dinner.  Now that fall is here (man do I love fall) it is time to get back into a routine and return to the table for long warm meals.   

In addition to the overabundance of sweet treats, you may have also noticed some changes on!  Yes–we got a facelift!  I’d be happy to hear your thoughts about the new design.  Please email me with any suggestions or feedback: kitchenbelle at ymail dot com.

And now, onto the soup!  I did some major food shopping immediately upon returning from vacation. In Whole Foods, I picked up a leaflet advertising meals for under $15.  This escarole soup caught my eye.  In need of something easy, filling and nutritionally sound to make for dinner–something that could sit on the stove while I continued to unpack and restore order to the apartment–I settled on this soup.

The moment it began simmering our place smelled like my grandmother’s!  She used to make escarole soup all of the time when I was a child, yet I didn’t realize it until the smell evoked the memory.  The sense of scent is a wonderful thing.

I adapted the recipe by cooking the garlic and olive oil with just the smallest pieces of bacon fat.  I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised by how unbelievably flavorful this soup turned out.  What I found especially strange is that I did not even use any salt AND I used low sodium broth–something I very rarely do. 

Escarole Soup:

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (less or more depending on your preference)
  • 1 very thin strip of bacon or bacon fat
  • One large bunch of escarole, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • One 48-ounce can of chicken broth
  • Two 14-ounce cans of Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil on medium-low and add garlic, bacon, and red pepper flakes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the chicken broth and escarole and  bring to a boil for about 15 minutes or until the escarole wilts.  Add the pinto beans and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Remove bacon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Adapted from Whole Foods leaflet.


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