When Alana Chernila was in her late twenties, she worked at her local farmers' market on Saturdays to help pay for her CSA share. Customers kept asking her what they should do with their less-celebrated vegetables such as radishes, kohlrabi, and dandelion greens.
“One day I was gushing to a friend about how much I loved talking to people about these simple ideas for veggie recipes, and she suggested I start a blog,” says Chernila. “In the five minute drive home, I decided it would be called "Eating From the Ground Up." I started it that night, and the rest is history!”
History that includes three cookbooks—her latest actually focuses on all of those veggie recipes in the eponymously titled Eating From The Ground Up. It's all about simple recipes that “make each vegetables sing,” says the Massachusetts-based author, such as this ridiculously delish kale and white bean soup with rosemary oil.
"There's nothing that rosemary oil doesn't get along with," Chernila raves. "If you have extra, drizzle it over potatoes, roasted vegetables, polenta, fried eggs...I could go on and on."
Here's how to make Alana Chernila's vegetarian kale and rosemary soup.
Kale and white bean soup with rosemary oil
Makes 3 quarts
1 pound dried cannellini or navy beans, picked over for stones, soaked in water for 6 to 8 hours, drained
7 peeled garlic cloves
2-inch piece of Parmesan rind, roughly chopped
5 4- to 6-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 bunch curly kale (about 8 ounces), stems removed, leaves chopped into fine ribbons
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
For serving: Grated lemon zest
1. Put the beans in a large, heavy-bottomed pot along with the garlic, Parmesan rind, three of the rosemary sprigs, and the bay leaf. Add the stock and water. Cover, set the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, between two and two-and-a-half hours.
2. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary stems. (The rosemary leaves will be in the soup—that’s okay.) Mash some of the beans and garlic with a potato masher or large wooden spoon. Add the kale and the salt. If the soup is too thick, add up to one cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the soup to a low boil, and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender and melts into the soup, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed, and lots of pepper to taste.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add the remaining two rosemary sprigs to the oil, pressing to submerge the herbs. After a moment, the rosemary will sizzle and the smell of rosemary will fill your kitchen. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes to infuse the oil.
4. Serve in large soup bowls, with a drizzle of rosemary olive oil and a grating of lemon zest over each bowl.
Reprinted from Eating from the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables. Copyright © 2018 by Alana Chernila. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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