Back when I was a little baby nurse, I followed a more senior nurse for 16 weeks while I learned the job. We ate together every day, and one day she asked what I was eating, I suppose because it looked even stranger than my usual fare. When I told her that it was a squash and kale soup, the look of horror on her face was absolutely priceless. But I had confidence in my lunch, so I convinced her to try some, and it turned out that my vegetable-hating preceptor loved this soup. She loved it so much that I made her a batch as my 'Thank you for precepting me' present, and she still remembers it (better than I did, in fact) almost 4 years later.
I love this soup because it's delicious, of course, but also because it's filling and chock full of fiber and vitamins. This is the kind of food that makes you feel healthy and invigorated, rather than bloated and sloppy, and I find that it helps me make it to 7 a.m. when I eat it for my 2 a.m. lunch. Also, this soup keeps well and is better the day after it's made, which means that you can make this soup on your day off, then enjoy it for the rest of the week.
Squash Stew with White Beans and Kale
(From Whole Foods)
- 4 oz bacon, cut into small dice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- Parsley, fresh thyme and two bay leaves, bundled together with string
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup apple cider
- 4 cups vegetable stock (I actually use chicken stock)
- 4 cups kale (or other green) rinsed, center rib removed, and sliced
- 2 cups (cooked) white beans, drained (I used a 14ounce can, but if you're feeling ambitious, cook your own dried or fresh beans)
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb peeled seeded Hubbard, butternut or dumpling squash, cut into half-inch dice
In a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat, render the fat from the bacon. Cook until the bacon is browned, and remove it with a slotted spoon; reserve.
Cook onions with the herb bundle in the bacon fat until onions soften. Add the garlic and cook until translucent. Put cider and stock into pot and bring to a boil. Add kale, beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
Add squash cubes to liquid and cook until squash is tender, about ten more minutes. Discard herb bundle. Ladle stew into bowls and garnish with reserved bacon.