Alex and I are busy. Between the two of us we have four jobs and he goes to school full time. When I say busy, I mean it. So I’m delighted any time I can toss food in a slow cooker, go to work, and come home to a meal that’s already complete.
I didn’t always appreciate our slow cooker. It took some convincing on Alex’s part before I was a believer. I was skeptical. I tried a few recipes out and this is one of my favorites. It’s not an overly liquidy soup, but it’s hearty and delicious. The ham adds a really nice, slightly smoky flavor and the kale wilts nicely without getting mushy. I prefer a drizzle of sherry vinegar just before serving but balsamic adds a nice flavor, too.
[slow-cooker] ham and kale soup with cannellini beans
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch of kale, washed, removed from the stem and chopped
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans
3 cups ham, diced
6 cups stock (4 cups ham + 2 cups chicken or 6 chicken with ham seasoning below)
1-2 teaspoons or packets ham flavor base (optional, but recommended if using chicken stock)
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sherry or balsamic vinegar (optional, but highly recommended)
Toss everything (except the vinegar) in your crock pot and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Serve hot with a drizzle of balsamic or sherry vinegar in each bowl.