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Kale and White Bean Soup with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Saffron

From Athens Locally Grown

<p>Sun-dried tomatoes lend their deep, sweet flavor to this wonderful and easy-to-prepare soup, and fennel seeds and saffron add a little mystery.</p>
Source: Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables (Entered by Eric Wagoner)
Serves: 4 to 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 3 small onions)
1 medium potato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small parsnip, chopped
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
6 or 7 large leaves kale, chopped (3 to 4 cups)
3/4 cup cooked or canned (rinsed, drained) white beans
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
pinch saffron
freshly ground black pepper

Step by Step Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the potato, carrot, and parsnip and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes more.
  2. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes. Pour in the stock. Stir in the bay leaves and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat so that it continues at a simmer.
  3. Add the kale, beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat; add the saffron. Season with salt and pepper to taste.