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I totally didn’t realize there was so little time until Christmas! I’m so not ready yet! I had all these plans to make cookies and candies, and try all sorts of new and festive treats and share with you… but alas, I am running out of time. Guess I’ll have to see what I can bust out in the next week, and share what I can. There’s always next year to share more!

Now this soup isn’t festive, but it’s perfect for fall and winter. I tried this last year, and when the temps started dropping here, this is one of the first soups I got a craving for. It’s loaded with vegetables and beans, and is super hearty and filling. Cook’s Illustrated has a quick version, which is the one I used, and a longer version that uses dried beans. I would love to try this with dried beans, but I can’t seem to find dried cannelini beans in any stores nearby! Please let me know if you’ve ever found them, and if so where!! But anyways, if you’re a fan of beans and vegetables in soup, then you’ve got to try this delicious recipe!Tuscan Bean Stew

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1½ cups)
2 medium celery ribs, cut into ½-inch pieces (about ¾ cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
2 bay leaves
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium bunch kale (about 1 pound), thick stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Heat oil and pancetta or bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 6 to 10 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, beans, bay leaves, tomatoes, and kale. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add rosemary and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, or until vegetables and greens are fully tender. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig; season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve lightly drizzled with olive oil.

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2008

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