How to make it

  • Drain the beans and combine with 1 quart water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and boil the beans hard for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a low simmer, add the bay leaf and chili pepper, and cook, partially covered, for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Add the salt and stir. Remove half the beans with a slotted spoon and puree them along with a little of the cooking liquid in a food processor. Set the puree aside and let the remaining beans cool in the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf and chili pepper.
  • Heat he oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (6-quart capacity) over low heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions have wilted. Stir in the garlic and saute for 2 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, the whole cooked beans and their broth, the zucchini, Swiss chard leaves, kale, leaves, cabbage, green beans, parsley, and thyme. Add enough water to cover and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  • Add more water if necessary, 1 cup at a time. Stir in pureed beans and additional garlic, mix well, and season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. At this point the soup can be cooled and refrigerated until ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and improve in flavor along the way. The soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • To serve, toast the bread and rub each piece with garlic. Place 2 slices in the bottom of a large soup bowl, pour hot soup over the bread, garnish with parsley, and serve.

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