The best winter stew
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, small dice
- 2 celery stalks, small dice
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, small dice
- 1 small fennel bulb, small dice
- 4–6 cloves garlic, thinly slice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 14-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 bunches winter greens (kale or chard, collards) stemmed* and torn unto bite-sized pieces (see note)
- 4–6 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
- 2 15-ounce Cannellini beans, strained and rinsed
- 1 Parmesan rind, optional
- 2–3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 4 cups torn stale sourdough bread (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and Place a large, oven safe pot (a cast iron Dutch Oven is perfect) over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the onion, celery carrot, fennel, and garlic. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown in spots. Stir in a big pinch of salt.
- Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the tomatoes. Crush them with your hands and set aside, reserving the juice.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and stir until it’s evaporated.
- Add the tomato paste, strained tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until the mixture is darker and drier, stopping right before it starts to stick to the pan. Adjust the heat if necessary if it starts to burn.
- Add the reserved tomato juice, greens, thyme, bay leaves and broth. Bring to a simmer. Once the greens are bright green and wilted, stir in the Cannellini beans and Parmesan rind, if using. Taste the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Top with torn bread, drizzle with remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan. Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the soup is bubbly, and the bread is crispy on top.
- Remove the Parmesan rind, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Serve with extra Parmesan.
If you’d like, you can chop up the stems of your greens and sauté them with the veggies – a great way to use it all up!
I made this with homemade fermented sourdough that I made using @lauralivesthegoodlife’s recipe but if you’re gluten-free, this would be great with Bread SRSLY sourdough. If that’s what you choose to use, I’d recommend toasting it on a sheet pan first while the oven is preheating to dry it out a bit.