Thick Escarole & Bean Soup
Thick, creamy and super simple escarole and bean soup is made for those fall and winter days when hot comfort food is much appreciated.
Cook the beans
Start by soaking beans in warm water for 6-8 hours or better yet overnight. This will reduce cooking time almost by half. However you can still proceed with preparation if you haven’t soaked the beans in advance.
Drain the beans from soaking water and transfer them to a pot with fresh drinking water.
Water level should be well above the beans. Add whole garlic cloves and bay leaves.
Bring beans to boil, then reduce heat to low and let them simmer for an hour, hour and a half.
If you haven’t soaked the beans the process is exactly the same, but beans will need to simmer for 2-3 hours until done.
Check on beans occasionally removing the foam and if needed refilling the pot with more BOILING water.
Prepare escarole and country bread
Wash, core and chop escarole head in medium size cubes or shred thinly.
In a large skillet pan add a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of peperoncino (chili flakes). Add escarole and toss in a pan for a few minutes until it reduces in volume.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place bread slices on a sheet pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and oregano and let them brown under the broiler.
If you prefer you can also brush them with fresh garlic clove for extra aroma and taste.
Once beans are cooked, combine escarole and beans in the pot. Add salt to taste and let simmer for another few minutes. Discard garlic and bay leaves if possible.
Serve hot, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
PRO TIP: Add a pinch of bouillon cube or a spoon of better than bouillon to add more flavor to the veggies and beans.