Ham, Bean & Escarole Soup
- 2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 lb. ham, thickly sliced and cut into cubes
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 1 head escarole, cored, leaves torn into pieces
- 2 cans (each 14 oz.) white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern,
drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the ham and sauté until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ham to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add more oil if needed. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
Cook the escarole and beans
Add the broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the escarole and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans, rosemary and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to heat through.
Finish the soup
Add the ham to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using the back of a large spoon, mash some of the beans to thicken the soup slightly. Simmer for 2 minutes more.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle with some of the cheese and serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Weeknight, by Melanie Barnard (Oxmoor House, 2006).