Yesterday I said one of those things I’ve heard every New Yorker say: “I’m so ready for spring.” After living in Boston a few years ago, you’d think I’d be prepared for the cold, but any Texan will tell you—we never get used to “arctic blasts.” (That’s the language weather forecast used yesterday!!)
All this is to prepare you for my recipe—I made soup. Again. A few weeks ago it was red lentil soup, and today it’s this quick potato and white bean chowder. I know, I should have just started a blog about vegan soup.
We’re eating a lot of soup because it’s freezing, but also because it’s one of the few things that’s really easy to cook in a makeshift kitchen, and as transient drifters, that means we eat a lot of soup. (Which sorta sucks for my husband, because he says having soup doesn’t feel like eating a “real” meal. I think this is because it doesn’t require much chewing, and it’s psychological??)
Back on the topic of drifting—I realized that this Saturday, March 4th, we had been officially in transit for a full six months. September 4th, 2016, we left Waco to live on the road in our fifth wheel trailer, we traveled all over the U.S. for about 4 months, spent a few weeks in Waco collecting ourselves and preparing for the big move to NYC, and have been Airbnb hopping in Manhattan and Brooklyn since January 16th.
For most of that time, we’ve been in very small kitchens, or big enough kitchens that aren’t highly equipped with things like a big pot or a set of tongs or a blender.
Side note: during the interlude back home in Waco I think I cooked enough to feed an army to make up for it. Mostly all the pastas from the Crossroads cookbook and all the soup (!!) from Isa’s book, which I talked about in this post.
Our last Airbnb, the beautiful bohemian one you see in these photos, had the most crude setup, with just a hot plate and a toaster oven—that couldn’t be running at the same time without blowing the breaker. It was kind of cool to try to cook within the restraints, and that’s how this soup was born.
We were about to move to our own apartment, and we didn’t want to transport the few groceries we had around. This included: 2 lonely-looking potatoes, a 14-oz can of cannellini beans, a little less than half a container of vegetable broth, some spices, and 1 bunch of Tuscan kale that was turning yellower by the minute.
Luckily, those come together to be really reminiscent of a comfort food my mom used to make when I was growing up, navy beans cooked in salt pork, with cornbread on the side. Obviously I don’t eat salt pork anymore, but the cannellini beans combined with the well-cooked potatoes made it extra creamy, like those slow-cooked navy beans, and the addition of soy sauce gave it some of that underlying richness we associate with cooking meat in a dish.
It’s easy to prepare as well. You just sauté the olive oil and the garlic cloves (you don’t even have to chop them) until the cloves are browning. Then add the yellow potatoes (you don’t even have to peel them), along with some cumin, paprika, and red pepper, until they have some color. Then you add the beans, plus vegetable broth and soy sauce, and just leave it. Once it’s all coming together and the potatoes are breaking apart, you throw the chopped kale on top, put a lid on it, and turn off the heat to let the kale steam a bit.
It’s surprisingly comforting, and I highly suggest having some cornbread or sourdough on the side. 😉
Note: This recipe generously serves 2, so there won’t be much in the way of leftovers.
By the way—this weekend we officially moved into our new apartment in Brooklyn. I now truly appreciate 650 square feet just for us… I can’t wait to share all the things with you, like:
- what essential kitchen equipment I’m bringing from Texas
- how we plan to live here with dogs
- how we furnished the place with all vegan/no-animals-harmed stuff
- what it’s like to go from a 3000+ sq-ft house to a 150 sq-ft trailer to a 650 sq-ft apartment
^ Tell me if any of that is interesting to you! ^
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 2 small yellow potatoes, about 2 cups
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 14-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 small head of Tuscan kale, about 2 cups
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- Olive oil for drizzling
- In a medium saucepan, bring olive oil to medium heat.
- Add the garlic cloves and sauté until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, cumin, paprika, and red pepper, and stir to coat. Sauté until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beans, vegetable broth, and tamari, and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until potatoes are very soft. Lightly mash some of the potatoes into the beans with a fork or wooden spoon. (If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water, ¼ cup at a time.)
- Add kale and replace the lid. Steam for about 5 minutes, or until wilted but still green.
- Stir the kale into the soup, and taste for salt.
- Serve with fresh cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, plus pieces of sourdough or cornbread.
- Optional: Top with nutritional yeast. 😉