A Winter Ribollita

// The grey in the Pacific Northwest is an ever present force in the winter.  As it moves the mists in, dampening the earth, it brings a deep chill to the bones of the people of this wild land. It calls for long afternoons dabbling in the kitchen creating comforting aromas and heavy, nourishing meals that stick.

Packed with high fiber cannellini beans, hearty root vegetables, and a whole pound of lacinato kale this stew will provide your body with a plethora of nutrients. The thick broth that is deepened with herbal flavors invites the crusty sourdough to slop right in.  


A Winter Ribollita:

Tuscan White Bean and Kale Stew with Root Vegetables and Sourdough Bread

Serves 8-10

1lb dried cannellini beans

1 bay leaf

1 onion, sliced

3 glugs of olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, 3 minced, one set aside

4 celery stalks, sliced

4 carrots, halved and cut into chunks

Few sprigs of rosemary, chopped

Few sprigs of thyme

2 medium turnips, quartered and cut into chunks

2 parsnips, quartered and cut into chunks

2 teaspoons chili flakes

1 cup of dry white wine

28 ounce can of whole plum tomatoes

8 cups of chicken broth

1 parmesan rind

1lb lacinato kale, chopped

Salt and pepper

A sourdough loaf, sliced

1 cup grated parmesan

Spread beans out on a baking sheet and pick out any stones or pieces that are not bean. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with two inches of water.  Soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours.  Be sure that you have a large enough bowl for the beans to expand.

When you are ready to make the soup, add the beans to a medium pot along with half of an onion sliced and a bay leaf.  Add water so that it covers the beans by 2 inches.  Bring the beans to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.

When you are 30 minutes out from finishing the beans, begin the rest of the soup.  In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the other half of the sliced onion and cook for a few minutes.  Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic, celery, carrots, rosemary, thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper.  Once the fragrance of the aromatics are filling the room, around 5 minutes, add in turnips, parsnips, and chili flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with the dry white wine and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  Add in the whole plum tomatoes with juices. In the meantime, drain the beans and onion and add to the pot.  Pour in chicken broth.  Note that the point is to cover the vegetables and beans entirely by about an inch, depending on the size of your vegetables, this may require more or less. Drop in parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. If liquid looks low, add in more chicken broth.

Remove cover and pile in lacinato kale.  It is going to look like a lot, because it is, but not to worry, it will cook down quite a bit. Allow around 3-5 minutes.

In the meantime, turn oven onto broil and slice the bread into as many ½ inch slices as are needed. Toast under broiler until top is browned. Remove from oven and rub with remaining garlic clove.  On the untoasted side of the bread, sprinkle on parmesan and return under the broiler.  Toast until cheese is bubbly and browning.


To serve, ladle stew into hefty bowls.  You can plop the toast directly on the stew letting it soak up all the juices and scoop it up as you eat, or you can keep it on the side and dip as you go.  

I intentionally made this recipe large.  It stores fabulously for later dinners or lunches. Place leftovers in the freezer and have it on those nights when making dinner is not a possibility. Enjoy!

//Cook’s Note:

-You do not need to use dried beans.  For convenience sake, you can use 1lb of canned beans, rinsed.  The half of onion and the bay leaf that was used for the beans will go into the soup.

-Turnips come in all different sizes, so the amount that you use may differ.

-You can make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken, and make it vegan by eliminating the cheese.