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parmesan broth with kale and white beans

This soup is the very best thing I ate in December, which is saying a lot for a month that involved the purchase of at least 4 pounds of butter. And it didn’t involve any of them. I know, I know — that’s crazy talk.

cheese rinds by the pound
smash some garlic

We had a last-minute dinner party in December, last minute enough that I basically ran to the store that morning and bought everything then cooked straight through until dinner. This is not my style. I’m a dinner party planner; rushing makes my skin crawl. But if there could be an upside to it, it would be that by planning the morning-of, necessary adjustments could be made due to the facts that 1. It was snowing very hard outside, thus, soup was in order. 2. A vegetarian friend (that’s not so strict that cheese is off the menu) was able to make so my beloved chicken stock was out for a base, but I wanted something equally magnanimous.

what you'll need

I’ve read for years that when making minestrone or other Italian soups, you cannot go wrong with throwing in an old Parmesan rind for flavor. And I’ve done it here and there, but it’s never changed my life. Meanwhile, I spent a spectacular amount of time obsessing over a chicken broth-based at Maialino shortly after it opened, trying to figure out what they’d done to elevate the chicken stock to nothing short of what I imagine crack would be like? Okay, maybe I’m reaching a little. Nevertheless, I hadn’t put two and two together until just a couple days before this dinner party, when In Jennie’s Kitchen shared a recipe for parmesan brodo — a broth made almost entirely from parmesan rinds — and I could not get it out of my head.

boil, boil
unimaginably delicious parmesan broth

The result was the most luxurious, rich and loud broth I’ve ever made. It’s said you can use it for risotto or heartier soups, but I wouldn’t dare. It’s too amazing just puddled plain on a spoon. Instead, I tried to enlist its inherent amazing-ness to add life to more earnest ingredients — white beans, plus their bean cooking broth (more soup nirvana for you there, trust me), and ribbons of kale. We were having a good amount of pasta for dinner (see above: abundant snow), so I wanted to lay off the noodles (although tortellini would be wonderful in a soup like this) but I did float a thin slice of toasted baguette on top, which we then drizzled with the olive oil I smuggled back from Rome some 84 degrees and 8 months ago, and yes, some grated Parmesan.

i've become a committed bean-soaker
kale

And then we just swan dove in. There’s really no other way to explain how well it went over, how amazing it made the apartment smell or how warming yet not overly heavy it felt to eat. It may not be pretty but you shouldn’t trust pretty food, anyway; pretty food has too many things going for it that are not flavor, after all. This, this puddle of wholesome scraps in a murky, yellowish broth, this is the food that will thaw us all.

parmesan broth with kale and white beans
parmesan broth with kale and white beans

Email and Something New: I am no great believer in resolutions, but I do find it hard to resist the pull of using a year’s end to clear the queue various queues, usually of things that clogging up progress so one can make way for fresh new things in a fresh new year. For me, this involved unceremoniously dumping a bunch of half-finished cooking ambitions on you, so they could live outside my computer for a while, see which ideas become more appealing with time. It also involves me today admitting something long overdue: I have failed at email.

My prior process [read everything as it comes in, immediately, ruthlessly delete all junk/things of no interest, archive what needs to be saved, respond to anything that can be responded to in under 90 seconds right away, and leave the rest — questions I’ll be happy to answer when I have more time — in the inbox for later, never letting that to-respond stack grow larger than 50] stopped working at some point last year and my inbox quickly became that factory scene in I Love Lucy, minus the delicious chocolate. With the to-answer count approaching 1,900 emails, every time I open my email I imagine them tapping their feet impatiently or at least clucking their tongues in profound disappointment with me and I need to admit defeat, crawl out from under, and declare Email Bankruptcy. Everything that was in there has been read and archived, and I beg you, if you’ve sent me a note in the last year that went unanswered (that was not about us partnering/me shilling/reviewing products/sponsored posts/becoming a “brand ambassador”/contributed articles/link exchange requests or anything that a quick glance at the site would make clear that SK is not into) to email me again and I promise to do better this year. I really liked hearing from you, even if I failed at my end of things.

A good lot of the emails I’ve missed responding to involve simple questions that I’d have been happy to answer, had I not be this far “in the weeds” so I thought that maybe it would be fun if we could try something new this year, regularly scheduled Ask Me Anything-style chats. I thought we’d try the first one next week on the Smitten Kitchen Facebook wall. Stop by between 12 and 1 Eastern time on Wednesday, January 15th, and leave a question in the comments of the top post and you will have my undivided attention for an hour. If it goes well, we’ll try it again in April. I look forward to chatting with you in a more fluid way than email.

tl;dr: A Q&A-Style Smitten Kitchen Facebook Page Chat, Wednesday, January 15th, 12 to 1 p.m. EST. Ask me anything.

Upcoming Cooking: Currently, my To Cook list looks like this: soup, soup, soup, salad, soup, something with kale, soup, something else with kale, then all of the peanut butter and all of the chocolate. Are we on the same page with this?

Where’s the carrot soup? For the previous two years, the first recipe of the year on this site has been a carrot soup, not because I like carrot soup, but because I never much cared for it at all and I enjoyed challenging myself to find ways to make it that I could be converted. I actually had a third one planned for you (it’s a theme, after all) but ended up sharing it with Parade Magazine a few months ago instead, in a kind of farmstead approach to Italian Wedding Soup. [Carrot Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs and Spinach]

One year ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
Two years ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame
Three years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew
Four years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket (only make this overnight in a slow-cooker if you enjoy eating the air when you wake)
Five years ago: Potato and Artichoke Tortilla
Six years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad
Seven years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza

Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans
Broth adapted from Jennifer Perillo

This broth is not only fairly quick to make, it could be used for all sorts of things, from cooking risotto to soaking beans, but I find it to be so exquisite on its own, I prefer it with only a couple simple additions. I used beans and kale, but you could also add tiny stelline (star-shaped) pasta or a good tortellini. I imagine it would be out-of-this-world to use with an Italian Wedding-style Soup, and I don’t even think I could handle the luxury if you added a poached egg to the below soup, too.

Heads-up: I forgot to mention this earlier, but a downside of this soup is that the residual cheese on the rinds enjoys releasing from the rinds as it cooks and gumming itself to your pot, giving you a fun scrubbing job. The best way to avoid this (this time, or in the future) is to tie the cheese rinds up in cheesecloth so the flavor infuses but less of the cheese. A second way is that if you have a nonstick pot you haven’t gotten rid of, use it here. It will be easier to clean. The way I do it (since I always forget to use cheesecloth) is to keep using that cheesy pot to make the soup after you’ve used the broth, stirring and scraping. I find that only a little is left at the end this way. Hope that helps.

Note: I usually double this.

Broth
8 ounces cheese rinds, any paper at the ends removed
6 cups water
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Handful of flat-leaf parsley
Salt, to taste

To serve
2 to 3 ounces tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry (updated measurement)
1 1/4 cups cooked white beans (from about 1/4 pound dried), with their cooking liquid if fresh (usually about 1 1/2 cups) (updated measurement)
Thin slices of baguette, toasted
Olive oil and parmesan for serving

Make the broth: Bring all broth ingredients to a boil in a large pot, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for one hour. Pour broth through a strainer. Your yield should be approximately 4 1/2 cups. You can use this right away or cool it before storing it.

Turn the broth into soup: Prepare kale by removing tough stems and center rib (I often use kitchen shears for this), then cutting the leaves into thin ribbons. Add them to the broth, along with the beans. Add bean cooking liquid if you wish; this not only stretches the intense parmesan broth further but adds a gorgeous extra depth to the soup. Simmer ingredients together for 10 minutes, until kale leaves wilt and beans are warmed through.

To serve: Ladle a small amount of beans, kale and broth into a bowl. (It’s so rich, we like it in smaller portions.) Top with a slice of toasted baguette. Drizzle baguette and soup lightly with your favorite olive oil and grate some fresh parmesan cheese over. Eat immediately.

So many notes:
Lady, where do you think I’m going to get a half-pound of Parmesan rinds? Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone goes through that much Parmesan, not even you. I probably wouldn’t even be writing this recipe up had I not made the discovery that you can buy Parmesan rinds-aplenty at a handful of stores. Both Whole Foods I’ve gone to in NYC stock them, thus I’m sure most locations do, as do other grocery stores and many cheese stops — essentially, if a place sells freshly-grated Parmesan, they have a supply of rinds somewhere. If they’re nice, they’ll give them to you for free. If they’re business-smart, they’ll charge you, but still significantly less than you’d pay for the cheese itself. However, in the future, please promise that you won’t throw away any Parmesan rinds (or pecorino Romano, or… actually, if you add cheese rinds to soups, I’d love to hear your favorites); you can even keep them in the freezer, as you would other good soup “bones,” until you need them.

Beans: I used cannelini beans for this the first time, but I spied some of Rancho Gordo’s Yellow-Eye beans in my cabinet (which are a great swap for white beans, wherever you use them) and had to use them instead, as it was just a day or two after New Years and I hadn’t gotten my black-eyed pea fix. The only downside of using a non-white bean such as this is that if you want to add the bean broth to your soup, it will change the color to something even less pretty.

How to cook dried beans: I promise, a separate post is coming on this. In the meanwhile, if you have time to soak your beans (cover them with way more water in a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need and leave them to soak for 8 hours or up to 24), do it, I find that it cuts stovetop time in half, or at least down by 1 hour. I dump it, soaking liquid and all, into a heavy pot, add more water (plus any aromatics you’d want, herbs, bay leaves, spice, onions, or garlic, but hold off on the salt for now) and bring the pot to a full boil. Boil it for one full minute, skimming any foam or, ahem, “scum” that floats, then reduce the heat to the lowest simmer possible, checking it from time to time and adding more liquid if needed. Your beans, depending on variety/age/if you soaked them, will take 1 to 3 hours to cook from here. My soaked-overnight white beans took just 1 hour. Once they are mostly softened, you can add salt to taste. Store them in their cooking liquid, which you should seriously consider adding to any/all soups as extra broth. Don’t dump all the flavor down the drain. I’ve also cooked beans many times, usually without bothering to soak, in a slow-cooker, for anywhere from 2 1/2 to 5 hours on HIGH (or longer on LOW). Yes, it takes longer, but the beauty of the slow-cooker is that it’s hands-off, while a stovetop needs to be somewhat monitored.

Not technically vegetarian: Strict vegetarians do not eat Parmesan as calf rennet is used in production. (More here.)

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258 comments on parmesan broth with kale and white beans

  1. Tom Hopper

    This looks really tasty! I have used Parmesan rind before but never in this quantity. So glad for the Whole Foods (and other possibilities) tip. The nuttiness of the cheese really comes through when allowed to swim around in some broth for a while. Thanks for everything!

  2. You know when you’ve been dreaming about a recipe but you’re not entirely sure what that recipe is – I’m pretty sure it’s this. I’ve had some kind of hearty beany kaley soup on my mind for a while but never really worked out exactly what I want from it. Now I know that it’s parmesan rinds, I can’t wait to get stuck into a bowl of this.

  3. Psst… Instead of buying the rinds, I like to stockpile mine as I use up chunks of Parm. I keep a quart-sized ziploc bag in the freezer, and add pieces of rind as I use it up. We go through A LOT of Parm around here, so I stow three or four pieces every few weeks. I use them straight from the freezer, too.

  4. Yet another Anna

    Thanks for the carrot soup link, I’ve been wanting to make something soup-ish with meatballs lately, and this looks promising. Plus, it will help me use up the stash of broths I have in the freezer in a tasty way.

  5. dara

    I had always been told that you need to drain the soaking water and start anew…thus less gas from the beans. Is this not so????

  6. Lee

    Sounds heavenly, and the perfect follow-up to last night’s matzo-ball soup (you were so right about that slow-cooker stock!).
    Re: soaking the beans, in my house we soak beans, lentils, split peas, etc. for up to three days, changing the water every 12 hours. The longer soak makes them start to sprout, which I’m told releases all kinds of hidden nutrients (and doesn’t affect the flavor one bit). This is a freeing tip if you’re not always 100% sure what your after-work cooking schedule will look like the next day – if you get home and just not up to cooking, change the water and let those beans soak another day. They will be even better tomorrow.

  7. Elena

    Have you tried making a carrot-ginger soup? It’s delicious!

    Carrot ginger soup

    Yield: 10 to 12 cups

    Ingredients:
    1 tbl butter
    1 red onion
    1kg carrots, peeled and sliced
    Pinch ground cinnamon
    8 cups chicken stock
    4 teaspoons coarsley chopped, fresh ginger
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Parsley or chives for garnish

    Directions:
    Melt butter in heavy stockpot
    Add onions & carrots, saute until tender
    Add cinnamon, stock & ginger, raise heat & bring to a boil
    Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes
    Remove solids and put in blender
    Process until completely smooth, gradually adding cooking liquid and cream
    Refrigerate for 3 days or serve immediately

  8. stephsapartmentkitchen

    Sounds too good to be true, Deb! My freezer is always tight on space (NYC kitchens, amirite?) so I rarely have chicken broth on hand. This sounds like it could be whipped up quickly with ingredients on hand! I can’t wait to try the broth with risotto. Do you think it could work?

    Also, +1 more to your list of readers who are dying for a beans tutorial. I either always overcook them (who knew they could be overcooked?) or undercook them. And how on earth do you store them??

  9. Annie

    Yay for Parmesan rinds. I’ve been on a weekend bean-cooking kick lately, and usually turn those beans into something between soup and stew, with a Parmesan rind thrown into the pot along with the soaked beans. But to simply base a broth on them? This I must try. Except that my recent soups have put a serious dent in my (embarrassingly large) cheese-rind collection. To the cheese counter I go.

  10. Rebecca

    I am surprised that cheese rind in a soup didn’t “speak” to you before. I love it. This broth sounds lovely. I also love what a good rind will use it when making marinara sauce and pasta fagioli as well as any sort of soup. My husband knows to never throw away a cheese rind. I use them all.

  11. Jamie K.

    I started making a minestrone years ago that called for parmesan rinds ~ amazing. The best part? The original recipe from Bibba’s book mentioned how well parmesan rinds freeze! When I’ve grated through to the end of a parmesan wedge, I just throw it in a freezer bag for future soups :)

  12. Sara McH

    For all you other strict vegetarians, here’s a helpful list of vegetarian cheeses–there are some parmesans made with microbial rennet (non-animal-derived). They sometimes have them at Trader Joe’s, too, which is pretty good at labeling their cheeses as containing “animal rennet” or “vegetarian rennet.” All is not lost! (I’m not affiliated with this website, just find it helpful)

    http://cheese.joyousliving.com/CheeseListType.aspx

  13. first time commenter, longtime ‘follower’/’reader’. love your blog–it’s brilliant.

    try adding to a tomato soup base–beautiful combination. great umommy.

    -omar

  14. Everytime I’ve tried the parmesan rind in the soup trick, I’ve never noticed much of a difference. Probably because I don’t buy great parmesan?

    Although the best part is chewing on the rind when you’re done…

  15. Mmm, this looks delicious. My problem is that while I know you can buy parm rinds, I haven’t been able to find anywhere that sells vegetarian parm rinds (parm made with microbal or vegetable rennet). Maybe I’ll save up all of my rinds and will someday have a half-pound collection! :)

  16. Eclecticdeb

    Wow, I happened to make a version of this last night–however with the addition of some chicken sausage. Used kale, onion, and garlic and cheese rinds.But I used canned white beans (rinsed) along with homemade frozen turkey broth. So good.

  17. Wow, this looks great! I’ll have to try this tonight, unfortunately I don’t have the Parmesan ends right now, so I hope shredded Parmesan works as well. Maybe I can add a bit of tofu and seaweed for a Japanese/Italian fusion. :)

  18. Killian

    This looks perfect for the cold snap we’re having.

    Hmm. Wonder if I could get the family to eat this. The Bear is diabetic, so I wouldn’t add pasta, but the beans would be great for him.

  19. Fernanda

    Beans, kale and Parmesan. Simply perfect. :)
    I have started storing Parmesan and Pecorino rinds in the freezer after learning their potential. This potential can now finally be realised!
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

    Now on the matter of beans, I love them all. Being Brazilian, I grew up eating beans every day and every house has a pressure Cooker for that. My childhood favourite is brown bean (pinto beans) soup with alphabet pasta. Have you ever tried cooking, blending, and adding stock and pasta to the beans? It works a treat as comfort food goes. And I imagine the Parmesan rind would slide in quite nicely too.

  20. Nikki U

    Just chiming in to say that your recipe lineup (soup, soup, soup, kale, salad, soup and then peanut butter and chocolate) is perfect and exactly what I am looking for. Happy New Year!

  21. Sarah

    Brine your dried beans!
    I’ve heard in the past that you ABSOLUTELY SHOULDN’T add salt to pre-cooked/cooking beans, because it makes them obliterate or cook horrible or become inedible (or somesuch), but I recently read– and kitchen tested myself– America’s Test Kitchen method of brining (instead of plain water soaking) your beans, and then cooking with salted water. The beans came out excellent! None burst, which is usually my problem cooking dried beans.
    Also, this recipe sounds great. :)

  22. Less

    Wait, what? I always cut off and discard cheese rinds because of not wanting to eat wax. Some of it soaks into the outer edge of the cheese itself, and it’s petroleum based and bad for you isn’t it??

  23. Robin

    Spanish hard cheeses also make good rinds for soup. I have thrown Manchego rinds into my minestrone along with parmesan rinds. Works beautifully.

  24. Heatherly

    Seven years worth of love I see listed up there! Thank you for all your hard work, however full of procrastination and avoidance it is! You are a woman after my own heart, in more areas than just the kitchen.

    Excited for the soup, soup and more soup recipes.

  25. Martha Bilski

    I googled white bean and parmesean to find a recipe that my husband told me about and found this. Perfection!! the bread is rising and the pot is simmering. go on winter, be that way,

  26. Kate A

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe. Like millions of others, I’m on a diet in the new year. Do you have any nutritional info for this recipe? I’m mainly interested in the calorie count. Thank you!

  27. There isn’t a better vegetable then Kale in my mind. Actually truth be told, I love all vegetables. This soup looks amazing and would certainly be good to make in the winter. I will be trying this very soon. :-)

  28. Cage

    Less- Your parm shouldn’t be cased or covered in wax! The “waxy” outside is actually the outer most layr a.k.a-the rind- of the cheese itself. It has been brine washed in the later stages of aging, which helps to cure (harden) the rind and can make it appear “waxy”, but I assure it isn’t wax. If it is, I would reccommend not purchasing that ‘parmesan’ cheese anymore. If you’re still concerned, take a potato peeler and shave the top layer then use your rind.

    http://www.parmesan.com/craftsmanship/how-to-make-parmesan-cheese/

  29. Erika

    I made your carrot ginger miso soup during the giant snowstorm on Fri and it was just the thing to brighten the day! No need for a new carrot soup recipe–that one will hold me over for a long time :)
    I did garnish with pumpkinseed oil we had brought back from Austria (out of sesame oil) and just a splash of white balsamic vinegar–since we didn’t have any scallions in the house, and I wasn’t going anywhere to get more. ‘Twas perfect!

    Thank you :)

  30. Nicole

    Thank you for addressing the ridiculousness of all of these mythical parmesan rinds that so many recipes blithely assume we have floating around. I buy good parmesan *maybe* three times a year, and frequently those purchases come with one rind at most! I’m thrilled to know that you can buy (or get free) the things themselves – I’d gotten to the point where I would skip recipes that call for them out of sheer pique, even if I happened to have a measly 2-inch parmesan rind hanging out in my fridge. But I can get behind purposefully seeking them out and making them shine in a broth like this.

  31. Cage

    Kate A- For calorie count, go to caloriecount.about.com and use their recipe analyzer. Just copy and past the recipe in and you’ll get nutrition info.

  32. EricaLT

    I want this. Like everything you post. I appreciate your comment about where to get parmesan rinds. Give me all the soups you have! It’s cold in the midwest.

    1. deb

      agnieszka — I’ve heard of it but I’ve never used it. However, if you find that it makes a difference, definitely use it here too. (I will try it one of these days and report back, however.)

  33. I agree with you that you shouldn’t trust pretty food, but I still think this soup looks pretty (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), especially dressed up with ribbons of kale and good bread laced with olive oil. Pure genius making a broth based on parmesan rinds. I will definitely check my local grocery stores to see if they’ve stocked them; thanks for the tip!

  34. PammyB

    This soup looks wonderful and I always try to get a parmesan rind for minestrone. Am surprised to hear that some places actually give rind away. I must ask next time. Perhaps I shall go door to door with a little basket, asking for cheese rinds.

  35. Ummm….WOW – that sounds delicious and I am just going to have to try this out! Thank you for sharing!!! And I appreciate you posting what you refer to as ‘not…pretty’! As a beginner blogger I am always worried (especially when posting recipes/cooking pictures) that things sometimes don’t look as fabulous as they taste! Thank you for that!!

    Meghan xo

  36. That looks so delicious!
    Now that it’s cold not much beats tucking into a bowl of soup with some crusty bread. Plus, I love kale and beans, so for me this is heaven.

  37. msue

    Serendipity! I’d been eying my collection of soup rinds, and here you find a way to use them in one fell swoop! I mixed Parmesan with other firm/hard cheese rinds. Plus one little edge of brie fell in the pot. To your broth recipe, I added one fat heirloom tomato that was far too soft to serve on its own, and 1/2 small bunch of thyme. The resulting goodness – such goodness – formed the broth for a pea soup. I know that peas are delightful in a delicate soup, but these stood proudly on their own on what is a freezing cold day in Texas. The broth was absolutely perfect. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  38. Katie

    I just have to put this out there – microwave your parm rinds (when you aren’t making soup). They puff up and are delicious. It’s fun!

  39. Jenny

    Will be bookmarking this to try as soon as the colder weather rolls in as we live in the southern hemisphere. I will be eagerly looking forward to trying it and this way it will give me some to save up those parmesan rinds!

    On another note, Deb, I made your peanut butter brownies for a summer BBQ & then brought them to work. Needless to say they were a complete hit! So bad and so good at the same time. Thanks Deb!

  40. my grandmother always used parmesan rinds in her minestrone soup, which was always so comforting and delicious! I can just imagine how good this broth tastes and I can’t wait to try it.

  41. Sounds delicious! I’m so glad I keep my rinds in a freezer baggy until I find something worthy. I feel the same way about other soups that call for it to be thrown in as an extra; the flavor never comes through the way I want it to. I can’t wait to try this out!

  42. Oh man, this soup sounds like heaven! Those steuben yellow eye beans are my favorite. This soup’s got my name all over it – can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing, Deb!

  43. Jessie

    Deb, if you’re not careful, we’re going to start thinking you like kale. (Which is fine with me, because I love it.) Thanks for the lovely post.

  44. Paula Shanfield

    Yum!!
    Regarding cooking dried beans and addition of salt. Cook’s Illustrated suggests brining dried beans. Try it!

    From CI. “In the test kitchen, we have found that soaking dried beans overnight in a saltwater solution will ensure soft, tender skins. During the long soak, sodium ions from the salt displace magnesium and calcium ions in the cell walls of the tough outer shell of the beans. Because sodium ions weaken the pectin in the cell walls more than these other minerals, water has an easier time penetrating the skins, softening their texture as they cook. A bonus: The brine thoroughly seasons the beans.”

  45. Susan

    I think it was Ina who first introduced me to using parm rinds in soup. What a revelation! I use them, when I have them, in almost every saucy, soupy braise now. It salts yet sweetens or mellows most acidic sauces and adds that slight creaminess you mention. I’ve floated your parm cheese crisps on top of soup, too. Not the same but does add a prettier garnish than using the the grated as it melts in as a pool rather than a sprinkling. Good stuff, that parm!

  46. Jules

    I second AnnieA!
    Would frozen kale work? Texturally I feel that it wouldn’t be as nice but flavor wise it may be okay? Thoughts?

  47. thank you thank you thank you!! I am trying to muster up the strength to make dinner …a garlic soup with with kale, parm and crispy prosciutto! I am now going to add the parm rind to the broth!! I think it will take it to a whole other level! I plan to try this next!

  48. Jess

    The recipe calls for 8 ounces of rind; is that a volume measurement or weight? I’m assuming weight as there would be a lot of space around a cup of parmesan rind, but sometimes my metric-system brain struggles with ounces. I’d experiment, but I don’t want to waste time getting all of my favourite foods into my face.

    1. deb

      Jess — Weight, as in a half-pound or 225 grams.

      Frozen kale — I think it would work, just give it longer to cook in the soup since I think at least the TJs frozen stuff is the thicker, dinosaur kale.

  49. I have this simmering away right now and my entire house smells fantastic! This recipe is perfect for those like me who buy Costco-sized portions of Parmesan & neglect them until they’re far too dry to use any other way. Thanks for sharing!

  50. Grace

    Re: Upcoming Cooking. Soup, in weather like this?! (She sarcastically types while bundled in fuzzy blankets.) Kale – I have a fridge full, waiting for your genius. All the peanut butter and chocolate – I daresay I needn’t say a word. WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE!!

  51. ciddyguy

    Deb,

    This sounds great and I had kale for the first time last night (the curly leafed variant), sauteed up like I do with spinach, though I DO add lemon juice to my greens, and did here. I did know that Kale tends to be bitter/peppery so added a good handful of raisins to it to help counteract that bitterness. A suggestion I read for Swiss Chard, and it works great here too.

    BTW, per the beans, I read, in I think the Kitchn that it’s actually OK to salt your beans, especially when you soak them as I did Hoppin’ John with Black Eyed Peas. I tossed in 2 Tbs of salt to the soaking water and let the peas soak overnight, then drained, rinsed, and then tossed into the crock pot. Seems to work, though I didn’t really to let it go all day on high, but were delicious nonetheless (I use smoked ham hock for my peas).

    I know to salt, or not to salt your peas has been a controversy of sorts for years as some believe it toughens the peas, so salt near the end.

    The reason for salting during the soaking is it helps the skin to break down, allowing your beans to cook, and not end up remaining crunchy like some do when you cook them for hours on end.

    Anyway, seemed to work.

    I will have to try this sometime, as I live near a Whole Foods and may be able to get the rinds there.

  52. WPB

    I’m a big fan of using the bean soaking liquid, especially with great beans like Rancho Gordo’s. Is there any reason not to just put the parmesan rinds directly into the water as you were cooking the beans? Is it just that it’s slightly more difficult to strain them out later?

    1. deb

      WPB — It’s a good question and one I’d meant to address. As you can guess, I was sort of plotting this as I was cooking, i.e. I made a pot of the broth, then decided to cook beans to add them later, thus they were already separate. It makes sense to just cook them together, but I’m concerned about the gumminess of the rinds — they’re going to have cheese left on them and I think the beans will be like… uh, fly tape on it, if my peppercorns were any indication. If I wasn’t worried about that, I otherwise think it makes perfect sense to do it all together.

  53. I’ve decided to do a lot more cooking in 2014. This recipe will definitely be at the top of my list. I’m not ready to jump on the kale bandwagon though. It’s not my favorite food so I’ll be substituting escarole. Maybe I’ll use both…stay tuned.

  54. It will be ten degrees in Richmond, Virginia this evening, and this soup will be the perfect antidote to the brrrssss. Just discovered Rancho Gordo’s yellow eye peas and cannot wait to try this, with a side of your vinegar slaw with cucumbers and dill from the SK cookbook. That heavenly crunchy tangy salad lasts in the fridge for weeks (did you know that?!?!) and I enjoy it all year long. Thank you!

  55. Lauren

    Yaaay, another great “stock option” -pun intended.This sounds fabulous and is beyond my wildest dreams. I had been wishing for a vegetable stock ( pleeeease do one) but so far have chicken, and this cheese miracle to add to my repertoire! This looks as if it could almost count as a veggie stock, getting you off that particular hook temporarily, but then we all still need beef and fish stocks/broths so that we may” corner the market” on healthful recipes. There is NOTHING like a great soup stock, it’s the “little black dress” of the recipe world!

  56. I’m all about soup during this time of the year and, even if at the beginning I thought this soup was a little bit too simple and plain, after have read through the whole post I’m now convinced it has to be amazing even on its own, with no added ingredients that could just make a fuss!
    Brilliant!

    xo, Elisa

  57. This broth sounds absolutely divine – so clever to use the bean soaking liquid, I’ve never thought about that. I’m such a fan of adding parmesan rind to soups. It adds such flavour richness and turns something quite average into something really special. I make a minestrone recipe using rinds and it’s my favourite thing for cold winter days – perhaps to be surpassed by this broth though….I’ll see this weekend!

  58. Donna

    I confess to actually gnawing the rind happily whilst grating the parmeggiano!…This recipe is such an appealing one for a post-holiday chill-bashing solution to what sounds, smells and IS good for dinner. Quandry…Here in France …until “The Kale Project” makes its way into the hinterlands…there is NO KALE to be found…Could I possibly use chou frisé or spinach to sub?…Your broth is definitively the best…Filling my freezer with parmesan rinds and chicken bones…One would think it is my compost bin…but no!

  59. I have tried the parmesan rinds but they don’t make enough impact for me to remember and then I had too many in the freezer and chucked them – well maybe a few are left – must check as this inspires me about them all over

  60. carol

    Can’t wait to make this soup. Love using parmesan rinds in my red sauces but have never used them with beans. Always looking for ways to use the kale I get in the CSA basket. Your recipe book was a requested Christmas gift. I WILL use at least one recipe from the book weekly (that’s the plan). It requires a plan since I am over 30 minutes from a grocery store.

  61. Christine

    Sorry to be the dense one here-but where are you getting ‘fresh’ soup beans? We have dried and canned so far as I have seen. I have a neighbour who grows lots of bizarro beans and they sprout when I try to dry them! Does fresh mean ‘not canned’?

  62. Matt

    Not to cause trouble, but the whole “Vegetarian cheese” thing is mostly a labeling game. The amount of Animal Rennet actually present in the finished cheese product is virtually nonexistent, and indeed, if you drink milk at all, you are consuming just as much “animal” matter, due to tiny natural cuts or burst blood capillaries in the udders which would allow microscopic amounts of cows blood into milk during milking (to be clear I’m not talking about actual bleeding of the udders which would obviously be a matter of medical concern for the farmers and the milk wouldn’t be used).

    1. deb

      Matt — Thanks for the information. If I understand correctly, all cheese is a product of an acid + milk. The acid is used to curdle the milk, the curds are used in a variety of manners to make all the cheeses we know and love. The “animal rennet” are the acids from a calf’s stomach; that’s the acid that’s used to make Parmesan. It’s not so much “in” the final product but used to create the curds, which are then strained, pressed, aged, etc… Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to understand this better and how severe the concern is. (FWIW, I was a vegetarian for 15 years and always ate Parmesan. But I wasn’t very strict about things unless there was actual meat in them.)

      Christine — No, not “fresh.” Bad word choice. Dried beans. I will correct. They’re of course available everywhere but I do think that all bean junkies (like myself) should occasionally treat themselves to some mail-order Rancho Gordos as their beans are excessively good.

      Donna — Kale is overrated, anyway. :) Any greens you enjoy in soups would work here too.

  63. Tara

    This is simmering on my stove as I write. I’m on a week-long eat out of the pantry week and I have most of the ingredients on hand. No dried beans but using canned and tiny pasta. I’ll add a can of drained diced tomatoes too. Yum! it smells so good.

  64. I have a recipe for eggplant parmesan soup that uses parmesan rinds and it’s fabulous. I am planning on minestrone for dinner since it’s 1 degree here right now and will definitely be throwing in my parmesan rind from the freezer. I’ve used them more than once and it still works nicely.

  65. Melinda

    I’ll have to try this recipe; it looks dellicious!

    I want to point out, though, that this sentence in your description jumped out at me: “which we then drizzled with the olive oil I smuggled back from Rome.” It’s the word ‘smuggled’ that I’m having a problem with. There are no restrictions on bringing olive oil into the US from Italy….unless you smuggled it into your carry-on and then it would be the ‘liquids’ rule that you violated….

    Just wondering because your sentence, the way it’s written, might lead travelers to believe that they can’t bring olive oil home with them.

    1. deb

      Melinda — I did indeed smuggle it in my carry-on bag (because I didn’t want to risk oil-drenched clothes) but I also used the term somewhat jokingly/melodramatically.

      Paula — Thank you for sharing. I will try it next time and report back (I’d like to a longer bean-cooking post for the Tips side-blog, still gathering information!).

  66. Paula

    Info about brining beans from Cook’s Illustrated:
    HOW TO BRINE DRIED BEANS: Add 2 teaspoons salt per quart of water. Soak the beans at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse them well before using.

    QUICK BRINE: Combine salt, water & beans in pot. Bring to a boil and then take off heat. Cover and let sit for1 hour. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water. Cook as directed.

    FREEZE BRINED UNCOOKED BEANS: Rinse and drain brined beans and then freeze them in zipper-lock bags before cooking.

    They also use this method for lentils. And, cooking if oven is good for many recipes for even cooking.

  67. beth

    ‘you shouldn’t trust pretty food, anyway’ – oh, how very true. and that is how i got my husband to love Indian food, by telling him to try the ugliest looking things in the buffet.

    looking forward to trying this soup out, as i build a stash of rinds in the freezer.

  68. Oh My God! Would that be good! Almost would not matter how much of any of those 3 title ingredients you used. That would be Yummy! Perfect weather here in the mid west for such a sustaining soup. MMMMmmmmm!

  69. Suzu

    RE: your comment about TJ’s frozen kale:

    Lacinato Kale IS Dinosaur Kale (notice that pebbly texture!)
    Sorry to be such a stickler but I am on a mission to get more demand for Red Russian Kale so it doesn’t disappear from production. Russian Kale is flattish (with a lovely red edge on it’s green leaves) so it is easy to clean and cut into ribbons (not like that oh so difficult Green Curly Kale with its many pockets for dirt and bugs). Black Lacinato Kale is a passable second choice. And, yes, I’m a gardener!

  70. Annie

    Have you ever tried carrot and orange soup? To be fair my husband thinks it is horrible so not for everyone, but to me it is the best thing ever. Essentially you make a basic carrot soup (onions sweated in a little flavourless oil or butter, add carrots for a few minutes, add chicken stock and cook until tender then blitz until smooth), then you squeeze in some orange juice (from fruit, not a carton!) to taste. I find it takes quite a bit of orange to get the zing coming through, which in turn can make a slightly “wet” rather than creamy soup, but worth it in my opinion. On the other hand you may think the idea awful…! Looking forward to the chocolate recipes along with the soup and kale ones.

  71. I woke up this morning to the parmesan rind broth recipe. With a full tupperware full of parmesan/regiano/romano rinds in the freezer, a handful of wilted flat leaf parsley begging to be used in the fridge, and a yesterday-purchased onion for whatever purpose I made my way to the kitchen and excitedly put everything in the pot which is now working its way to a boil. I didn’t have enough to double the recipe but I will ask at the market from now on if they have rinds for free. I am so excited about this recipe! YUM!!! I wonder if a splash of stout beer would be good in this recipe. I think I’ll have it for dinner with beer.

    Oh and can you please recommend a good source for dry beans?

  72. Wow! I will try this recipe ASAP!
    And by the way, I’m a fan of the “no-pretty-food”, where the flavor is the boss…you should try “gazpacho caliente”, a dish from southern Spain very similar to “pappa al pomodoro”. It looks disgusting but once you’ve tried it….is sooooo good!

  73. Cathy

    Art clas is Wed till noon, so I am sneaking in my question now….
    Your chicken broth recipe is such a game changer and life saver
    that I need one for beef broth/stock. I do hope it is in the works
    and will be shared soon. I am loving your cookbook Santa brought
    to me; devouring every page!

    Cat

  74. Liz

    I happen to have exactly 8 ounces of parmesan rinds as I saw Jennie’s recipe and measured mine… I’ve been saving them in a freezer bag – occasionally remembering to throw some in when making soup but often forgetting and oh, darn! – now I can make this broth!

    Also a Rancho Gordo fan and I have a number of their beans in my cupboard and just have to decide which to use. BTW – if you haven’t tried the Christmas Limas – they are a surprise (surprise to me) favorite. And I agree, the pot liquor from Rancho Gordos is beyond wonderful!

  75. sara

    Made this last night and it was fabulous. Careful with the salt as the broth gets much saltier as it simmers away. The only minus is that my Whole Foods charges $13.99 a pound for rinds!

  76. Robin

    HOW can you start the New Year without the obligatory photo of your darling Jacob? [And I’m not usually terribly interested in “ordinary” children!]

  77. Jennifer

    Hmmm. I regularly use parmesan rinds in minestrone, but when the soup is done, I fish them out, chop them up, and put them back in the soup for eating. They’re delicious and chewy. You don’t mention using the rinds afterwards for anything, but they are delicious. I would/will try chopping them up for this soup as well.

    Also, I’ve found with the rinds at Whole Foods that they leave quite a bit of usable cheese on the rinds, so it’s worth trying to shred some of it off. Microplane graters work really well for that.

  78. Chris T

    Great meal, horrible to clean up!

    Made this last night, and really enjoyed it. However as there was a bit of cheese on the rinds it made a complete mess of my pot and the strainer…I think If i make this next time I’ll put the rinds in a cheese cloth to keep the mess to a minimum…

  79. cate

    This is a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it! I’m a big saver of parm rinds (I can’t stand to throw any of it away after spending so much on the cheese, lol). But I do want to give you another way to prep beans, a better way in my opinion as it reduces the gassy effects of dry beans considerably. Put the beans in a large pot, cover with water, lightly salted, bring to boil and let boil for three full minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for three hours. Drain your beans and they are ready to use. They will need another hour cooking in whatever you are making, or you can cook them separately if you want the broth. I’m off to dig out my rinds from the freezer and make soup!

  80. Looks like a lovely soup, and now is definitely the time for it! I’ll have to come up with some substitute for the cheese if thats possible..

    thank you for posting the bit about Parmesan not technically being vegetarian!! Most people (even some vegetarians) don’t know this.

    I’m looking forward to a new year of recipes!!

  81. KarentheCondimentQueen

    Been saving my rinds faithfully! Made this today with cannellinis, a can of chopped tomatoes and baby bok choy adding some nice slices of sausage…Absolutely yum and the house smells divine!

  82. amy

    Mmm, I made this exact soup once with escarole. First and only time I’ve found a productive (i.e. edible beyond the first bite) use for curly escarole. : )

  83. Kat

    Okay I HAD to laugh at your note about parmesan rinds. Because I am pretty sure my two friends and I go through enough Locatelli in a month to easily have 8oz of rinds between in us in the freezer, maybe more. I love the stuff but they are both of the opinion that cheese should be served with a side of pasta ;-) I can’t WAIT to try this. I’m fascinated!

  84. Angela

    Made this tonight, it was the BEST THING EVER, especially on this cold day!! I put in twice the amount of beans and kale so definitely had to add the bean water plus a couple cups more plain water. The post about putting the cheese into a cheesecloth might be a good idea, judging the the mess in my pan! Thanks for the recipe!

  85. Amomo

    I’ve heard that using the same soaking liquid for cooking the beans will make one… quite gassy. Without disclosing anything too personal, erm, has anyone known this to be true?

  86. JanetP

    Hee, I like how the best thing you ate in December didn’t include any of the 4 lbs of butter. I decided to be less healthy because healthy living is getting me nowhere, and went and made lentil and kale stew with chourico. Sigh. It’s great with a poached egg on top for breakfast, too! Healthy eating, I can’t quit ya.

  87. joanneS

    mmm, looks good. I love throwing the rinds in most of the soups I make.
    FYI Deb, I walk right up to the customs guy with my Olive oil, and Parmesan cheese purchased in Italy when I returned to Kennedy airport, and asked if I could bring it in. He smiled, and said, good for you! You sure can. He may have said no meat, but I was too excited that I could keep my treasures to hear the rest! No need to smuggle and risk the oily mess and loss.

  88. mieke groen

    Hi there, good on you girl, you’re ever so kind for us. No shame in being kind to yourself. Very happy with this recipe, kale is so typically Dutch, did you know….all the best from Holland, X, Mieke

  89. Cage

    making thus as i type and i was wondering: what can I do with my Palm rinds AFTER I make this? are they good to freeze for another day, or to nibble on or are the done with ready for trash?

    thanks!

  90. SBK

    I too have heard not to use the soaking water from beans because it will make you gassy. I don’t know if this is true, but I discard the soaking water. Also, I add about a teaspoon of baking soda to the fresh water I put in the bean soup once the pot comes to a boil. It “froths” up and I skim off the froth. Actually, it is sort of fun to watch it bubble up—and my soups do not seem to cause digestive problems!

  91. KKM

    This was my lunch today with frozen cheese tortellini and lacinato kale. It was just the thing for this frigid NYC day. Thanks for introducing me to this liquid gold! I second the idea of putting the rinds in a cheesecloth. It took longer to soak/scrub the melted cheese off my pot than it did to make the stock.

  92. Adrea

    I saw this post yesterday and made it today. I didn’t change a thing, it is so good! My only regret is not doubling the recipe.

  93. Shani

    I am looking forward to making this but had to chime in because we made the carrot soup with turkey meatballs last night (linked to in your notes) and it was insanely delicious. I mean, maddeningly, outrageously, ferociously tasty. Thank you Deb!

  94. Jane

    Made the broth today and it’s delicious. I would never have thought to ask Whole Foods for the parmesan rinds! They gave me a good-sized container of them for $2.

    You recently mentioned trying – and abandoning – baking with fresh orange segments. I suggest trying Trader Joe’s Soft & Juicy Mandarins which are with their dried fruit. I snip them with scissors — finely to replace grated orange zest, or in larger pieces to replace other fruit in scones or cookies.

  95. Loved this: “It may not be pretty but you shouldn’t trust pretty food, anyway; pretty food has too many things going for it that are not flavor, after all. This, this puddle of wholesome scraps in a murky, yellowish broth, this is the food that will thaw us all”.

    Loved it.

  96. Lindsey

    I made this tonight with lentils and kale, losing that beautiful color of the broth but when the pantry calls I must heed it’s demands. It was fantastic! Easily one of the best broth’s I’ve ever tasted.

  97. Liz C.

    Deb! You were endorsed today by Stephen Metcalf on the slate culture gabfest! Just thought you should know in case you haven’t (but I’m sure you have) heard. I love your blog and cook from it all the time. Thanks for all the deliciousness!

  98. Chameka

    This broth is genius! I made this wit kale, cannellini beans and ditali pasta. It was just divine. I only wish cleaning the pot afterwards was as easy as making the broth.

  99. Kate

    Wow. This soup looks yummy, but moreover: there are a LOT of nit-picky comments and criticisms! Y’all, let’s post comments for our favorite food blogger that *add* to her motivation to continue her entertaining posts and reliably-delicious recipes.

    Deb, thanks for the lovely recipe. I always enjoy your writing and food ideas. Cheers to you and your family for 2014.

  100. Kristin

    I made this last night and it turned out so well! I’m going to try it again for friends on Friday. It seems like a great, inexpensive soup to feed a crowd.

  101. Brandi

    I made this last night with a bunch of frozen parmesan rinds and a dried hunk of unidentified cheese that I found in the cheese drawer. I used a can of chickpeas, a block of frozen spinach, and cup of orzo. SO GOOD! I am so grateful for an easy, really great stock that I can throw together with one hand (with a baby in the other and a toddler zooming around). Thank you for the perfect antidote to the polar vortex!

  102. Laura

    Made this broth last night….SO FREAKIN GOOD. I also made a farro dish (salad?) with roasted golden beets, criminis, caramelized onions, lacinato kale, sage, and pepitas. After tasting this broth, I ended up plopping a couple spoonfuls of the farro into a bowl of broth and calling it dinner. Seriously Deb, this recipe is golden.

  103. Karen

    Went to my local Whole Foods last night to buy the parm rinds and they we’re clean out. I live in the SF Bay Area…so I doubt this is a coincidence. Being the impatient girl that I am, I bought the biggest piece of hard parm I could find with a rind on it and put about 6oz in my broth instead, telling myself that the softer, non-rind side would reduce more easily and I’d need less overall. Well, it worked (I think) — it may have ended up a little bit more rich than intended, but it was very tasty. Looking forward to trying it someday the “correct” way too after the local market recovers from the Smitten Kitchen run on parm rinds…

  104. Anna

    I was just–and I mean JUST last night–thinking about what to do with the quart of rinds rapidly accumulating in my fridge. I often throw one into a soup, and was thinking about extravagantly tossing all of them into the mushroom risotto we’re making for dinner tonight. Now I know what to do with them! (And how to get lots more in a pinch. We don’t have a Whole Foods here in Burlington, VT, but thankfully have what amounts to a two locally grown versions. I’m hoping one of them will offer rinds.) Thanks!!

  105. anna

    I tried cooking the beans while making the stock and had beans that took an impossibly long time to cook. I’m guessing that the salt content in my rinds is to blame. So, next time i’ll ignore my hatred of washing pots and make it your way. Also, via advice from An Everlasting Meal, I always drain the soaking liquid before cooking the beans, since she claims that what gets soaked out of the beans “inspires musicality in eaters”. But otherwise it was amazing and I can’t wait to make it again.

  106. Allison

    I’ve been stashing old Parmesan rinds in my freezer for ages. Such a backlog now, so thus is more than perfect. Thank you!

    And…thanks, really, for all your recipes. I’ve been reading your blog for several years now. With others, my interest waxes and wanes. But, the quality of your recipe R&D is just so incredible, I think I’ll never stop loving your blog. So, thanks.

  107. Shannon

    I’d like to second the comments about brining your dried beans. I recently started using the Cook’s Illustrated method that Paula outlined and it’s a revelation. My beans have never been so tender & full of flavor.

  108. Cherish

    Hi Deb! I am thrilled to be making this soup right now! I was curious if the Parmesan rinds can be cooled and then frozen and re used at a later date?
    P.S. I was given a signed copy of your book from my husband for Christmas and it is wonderful. My favorite gift. I have already been blown away by several of the recipes. Thanks so much for your inspiration!

  109. Jeff

    Great recipe. Where did you find this one? The only place I have ever seen parmesan broth is is at a restaurant called Lulu & Po in Brooklyn, NY. The food is so good there.

  110. This one must have caught on quickly, because Whole Foods on Union Sq is now keeping them stocked for $9 a pound. Not that I’m any less excited to welcome three friends from abroad back into the city with the soup this week :)

  111. Deb- I am a devoted follower! Found a hardened piece of Parm in my cheese drawer. I got the rinds at Whole Foods- well priced, but not free.
    This made the richest broth!! How about some advice on dealing with cleaning my stainless steel 12Q stick pot. Serious gunk factor. So far, cold water and plenty of “elbow grease”… We are not clean yet.
    Any other suggestions???

    1. deb

      Re, stuck pot — Apologies, I should have mentioned this earlier. There are a few ways to handle this, two of little help to those of you who have already found themselves with gunked-up pots.
      1. Use a non-stick pot, if you keep one around.
      2. Put the cheese rinds in cheesecloth.
      3. (What I’ve been doing:) Put the broth right back in the pot and make the soup with it. I stir and scrape a lot. By the time I’m done with the pot, there’s much, much much less and this I scrub. But, seriously, #2 makes the most sense, if I could ever remember at the outset.

      I’ll update the headnotes with this. Apologies for taking so long to do so!

      Jeff — Parmesan-infused broth is an old thing. Nevertheless, the post mentions the restaurant Maialino as an inspiration, and the recipe is noted to be adapted from another food blog.

      Cherish — I suppose they can but by the time you’re done with this soup they’re going to be really falling apart and will have much of the flavor seeped out of them.

  112. queenie5181

    Thanks for another winner, Deb! I’d been saving some parmesan rinds in the back of my cheese drawer per your advice in another recipe, and I was finally able to put them to use. I only had canned cannellini on on hand, but this still turned out terrifically. Happy New Year!

  113. Cage

    Deb-

    I made the broth the other night, with high expectations, and my broth was weak, not this delicious rich thing you described. It was also paler in color- do you think the fix is as simple as simmering the broth longer? I added the beans, kale and some cooked quinoa the next day. I so very much want this to work and be delicious, but the soup I have is not that compelling.Any tips and suggestions would be mos welcome.

    Thanks

  114. Made this for part of Sunday night dinner (after finding the rinds at Whole Foods, just like you said). I used black eyed peas because I had them, and it was a fine substitution for the cannellini beans. It is INSANE how much flavor the rinds give the soup. Insane, I say! This was a perfect warm-up after a day of sailing (I know – shoot me). Loved it (and really any reliable soup recipe). And now I see you’ve posted a chicken pho recipe, so I’m beginning to think you can read my mind!

  115. Jenn

    I made your chicken meatball recipe to put in this broth (little nod to an Italian wedding soup) and it was so delicious! I also had some extra kale so I made some fresh kale chips to sprinkle on top.

  116. Tracy

    not sure if you will see this, but the cheese residue would probably clean up beautifully with a bamboo pot scrubber. Michael Ruhlman wrote about them (and sells them in his Shop) and darned it if isn’t just wonderful for just this sort of thing.

  117. liz

    Made this last night at it was great, as promised. I didn’t have the recommended quantity of cheese rind, but the broth was still delicious. I used a Parmesan rind and also Tomme de Vache, which seemed to work well. I added some lardons for extra flavor to compensate for having too little cheese. Thought I’d have to sub chard for kale, but yesterday found kale in France for the first time! Thanks for the recipe & for a new trick to use cheese rinds.

  118. liz

    Oh – I deglazed the broth pot with some white wine to remove the cheese, then added in the soup goodies, then poured the broth back in. I’d recommend the wine trick to others dealing with the sticky pot.

  119. Jennifer C.

    Do you think that any other cheese could be used here? I have some rinds and leftover bits of sharp provolone, and prima donna from the holiday that I keep looking at and wondering if I could use!

    1. deb

      Jennifer — It’s worth trying; Parmigiano-Reggiano and Locatelli Pecorino Roman are the most commonly recommended, but I imagine that any aged hard cheese rind could impart a nice flavor.

  120. Michelle

    This truly is an excellent recipe. I made a half batch with only one rind and unfortunately cannot buy kale out of season over here in Switzerland but I substituted for a nicely textured green cabbage. Really a wholesome soup. I had my doubts that the hubby would frown upon a non-meat meal, let alone just a soup for dinner but he loved it and can’t wait until I make it again! Thanks!!

  121. Judy

    I always save my rinds in a bag in the freezer. I try to remember to always throw a rind in when I make soup. Sometimes I actually do. We go through a lot of parmigiana, so I always have an ample supply. Can’t wait to make this!

  122. Nancy

    I made this last night and it was really delicious. I doubled the recipe, and cheated and used canned beans since it was a weekday and time was short. I pretty much followed the recipe as written, which is unusual for me but it seemed perfect as is. The broth was rich and deeply flavored and the kale and beans really rounded out the dish. It was just a little over an hour from start to finish with most of the time being hands-off.

    I added a splash of sherry vinegar, thinking that a little acid would help the flavors to pop. I actually preferred the soup before the addition of the vinegar, so I would skip that next time.

    I agree with posters who thought the pot was a big tough to clean. Make sure you fill the pot with lots of hot, soapy water and let it sit for a while before cleaning.

    Thanks, Deb. It is great to have a dish that my veggie son can eat and that we can all enjoy! Definitely a keeper.

  123. Janet

    I made this, with really good intentions… All that happened was, my house smelled like cat-shit and gym socks for two days. I love beans, love greens, love cheese… This recipe is shite.

  124. Becky

    Deb, the Daily Soup Cookbook regularly has the cook throw the rinds into the soups. This book has been my bible for the last several years, and the ones with the cheese rind in them are among my favorites!

  125. Megan

    I had to pay $16.19 for 0.9 pound of cheese rinds–they did give me 10% off since it was just rinds… how annoying that they charged so much (no significant discount) but I really want to make this soup. Maybe I need to talk to the manager of the store or something if I want to make this again, or see if any other stores around here can get me a better deal.

  126. Elaine

    My 8 oz of rinds in the freezer happened to contain a 2 oz piece of blue cheese. It must have been too hard to eat when I froze it…but it turned to powder when I touched it. Consequently my broth had a large quantity of residue that was fine enough to pass through a chinoise. The broth had a blue cheese funkiness too that I would not recommend. Question: There was a layer of butterfat floating on the cooled broth. Do you see that with 100% parmesan or was that also a consequence of the blue cheese inclusion? Despite having 6 oz of “quality” rinds, my broth was also very pale in color. Does that last 2 oz really make the difference in the color?

  127. barbara laforge

    I made this broth yesterday. Bought two tubs of rinds at Whole Foods. 8 oz at about 9 dollars. Cooked it longer than the recipe, let it reduce a bit, then added more water on and off for about 4 hours. The most amazing broth you ever tasted. Glad I made the broth the day before, as what a mess it makes. I did the caramal trick of boiling the dirty pot full of water for about l/2 hour, most of the cheese came off, not too bad cleaning the rest. Making the soup tonight, but am going to stock up on rinds from WF every week, then make a triple batch and freeze in cup containers. The BEST broth.

  128. Melissa M.

    First time using rinds in this way (at all, in fact) and I was very excited to try. While a rich Parmesan flavour resulted I was underwhelmed overall. I brightened it up with some fresh lemon juice and sea salt but I’m still not convinced. I plan to use the rest of the broth in a risotto later this week….mmmushroom, I think. Glad I tried it though. The guy at the cheese market told me he throws a rind in with his tomato sauces which sounds like a great idea too.

  129. eve

    i made this soup last night (doubling the recipe), and tied the rinds up in some cheese cloth as per your suggestion, and i also found the broth to be kind of weak when i first tasted it after an hour of simmering. i untied the cheese rinds and let it simmer maybe 20 more minutes with the rinds just floatin’ around, knowing i’d just have to scrape my soup pot more afterwards. i also added a teaspoon or so of better that bouillon vegetarian chicken stock, but in the future i think i’d just tie up the rinds more loosely in the cheese cloth, instead of bundling them quite tightly, so the flavor can come out more.

  130. Juliet

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely perfect. I used mostly Reggiano Parmesan rinds from Whole Foods. For the people who are commenting that the broth was not flavorful, I suggest adding a couple extra pinches of sea salt. For the beans, I used black-eyed peas that I made in a crock pot earlier in the day. The finished product was fantastic with crusty bread, a shaving of more Reggiano, and a glass of dry white wine. Thank you Deb, for this awesome recipe.

  131. Sadie

    Hi! I made the broth and white beans separately and I have been eating versions of this soup all week! I have used added handfuls of fresh spinach instead of kale, as well as as chopped zucchini, or sometimes just lots of herbs and an egg. They are all outstanding and the egg is a must! I did not have all the rind, but the quality was good and there was a little cheese still on it, so the flavor is really strong. I would suggest keeping the beans and broth separate in the fridge, because a) you just combine and reheat in minutes, adding whatever you like and b) the broth is great to add to other things like veggies for pasta… Thank you for such a delicious recipe!

  132. Zoë

    My question is actually about the carrot and turkey meatball soup that you linked to in this post (on Parade). I plan to make it and freeze it, but I’m wondering if I should leave out the spinach? I feel like it’s meant to be so lightly wilted that the freezing and reheating process will render it dissolved into mush. I’ll be reheating it one serving at a time (for work lunches) in the microwave. If I do leave out the spinach, will much be lost? Would you reccommend I add it in when I reheat? Before microwaving? After microwaving, while it’s still hot and just giving it a quick swirl? On second thought, will the meatballs be negatively effected in any way as well?

  133. Megan

    I made this last night and was surprised that my broth/soup turned out to be bland! I had the cheese rinds in cheese cloth so maybe it’s important to have them loose? Also, I didn’t drain my white kidney beans since you recommended not (although there wasn’t much liquid left to drain), but maybe they contributed to the blandness. I only added a bay leaf (wasn’t sure how the prepare the garlic or onions or what herbs to use when cooking the dry beans) that ended up sticking to the edge of the pot. But I had used all of the ingredients that you said to use for the parm. broth.

  134. Florence

    Oh that Parmesan broth is so good. So much umami! Best vegetarian broth ever. Used up all Parmesan rinds I have been saving for the occasional minestrone. Now I have to go buy some at WF.

  135. Verna

    Divine. Subtle, and elegant. This is one of those…less is more kind of delights. I made it last night and it was marvelous and then had it tonight and it was even better. Thank you!

  136. Nancy

    Hello, my name is Nancy and I am a bean eater. I’m also a Steve Sando/Rancho Gordo fan. I ran into him (not literally) at the Ferry Plaza Market in SF

  137. Nancy

    I cook and eat beans and am a big Steve Sando/Rancho Gordo fan. One thing I ALWAYS do before soaking is to rinse then strain beans (or grains, seeds or grasses) in cold water until the water runs clear. There’s often dirt or at least dust on the beans (or grains, seeds or grasses) – one exception being Rancho Gordo beans, they’re the cleanest I’ve ever used but I still rinse them before soaking. There is less scum when your beans come to a boil and it’s (generally – depends on the color of the beans) not a gray-ish color.

    …and as for the recipe, it looks marvelous and I can’t wait to try it!

  138. Rachel

    This was a lovely soup. I added rotini (which I’m realizing now I had leftover from making your mac ‘n’ cheese!) and used Jacob’s Cattle beans, and every element was delicious. As tasty as it was, the most satisfaction came from finally finding a way to use up the rinds I’d be hoarding for months, now. Speaking of which: This was not remotely difficult to clean from my pot!

  139. Annika

    I LOVE this broth…and so easy. Didn’t have the rinds and not patient enough to wait for them so I used some really good parmesan that i just sliced up. (used an non-stick pan and clean up no problem).
    I altered the soup based on another recipe and used white beans, fresh baby spinach and a little whole wheat orzo. Added a little lemon zest to the broth and squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on it before serving.
    VERY ELEGANT AND COMPLEX.

  140. Tamta

    Thanks for the recipe. Wondering why the beans should be cooked separately from the broth, rather than in the broth – either after it’s made or while the broth is simmering. Seems like several Internet recipes follow those same steps. Any ideas?

  141. deb

    You don’t have to cook them separately, but I did because it’s a rather rich broth and it doesn’t make much so I didn’t want a few cups of it to go just to plumping beans.

  142. Catherine

    New to this site and what a great find for a foodie! I have been making parm rind broth for years, a welcome addition to veg-heads!

  143. Shoshana

    this did not come out quite right for me. my beans soaked for at least 18+ hours and after over an hour of cooking in the slow cooker on high they were still not quite the right consistency. to go along with that previous remark, i’m really starting to think that the slow cooker we got for xmas kinda sucks….what is up the with aroma slow cookers fm. costco?! what is the best slow cooker out there? how about rice cookers – anyone?

    the broth tastes beautiful. it is pretty clear, and simple, but very warming and hearty with the parmessian and peppercorn.

    i think when we heat it up tomorrow i’ll throw in some sauteed shitakes and/or tiny sausage meatballs….

  144. DJ

    Suggestion-> I would be cautious about cooking the beans in their soaking liquid as it contains indigestible complex sugars that soaking leeches from the beans — these are the sugars that give you gas. One of the benefits of soaking beans is to leech out those nasty sugars and remove them before you cook and consume the beans. There are still plenty of nutrients left in the beans after soaking, so don’t worry about missing out on those. I usually do three changes of soak water and rinse the beans briskly each time in a colander under hard running water spray while stirring them with my hands to remove the maximum amount of the undesirable sugars from the surface of the beans. Otherwise this recipe looks great, I can’t wait to try making a broth out of parmesan rinds!

  145. Bonnie

    Love this! My Whole Foods wanted $15.99 a pound for the cheese rinds though (crazy!) but found them at QFC for $7.99. Made a huge batch and froze it. Now I can throw together a quick dinner that tastes like it’s been cooking all day.

  146. Jess

    Hey Deb it’s Jess from Florida from forever.The Oreo cookie lady :) I have a two year old grand daughter now and you have your beautiful, beautiful boy!

    I’m here frequently all these years later, and have made many, many of your desserts and recipes I must tell you. And of course credited you and sent many nervous cooks to your foolproof kitchen, and many experienced cooks as well!

    Anyway, I had to comment and tell you what this simple soup recipe did to me.

    I found the rinds at my local Italian specialty store, which who knew? in this sleepy Burg, has its own cheese room!

    So I got my rinds, I got some leeks, I got good kale, I got a new bottle of Kalamata olive oil and stuffed it with raw garlic to infuse. Sunday I boiled potatoes and saved the reduced starch water, prepared the Parm broth as instructed in my 12qt stock pot, and set the beans to soak (I did use baking soda, on account of the, erm, side effects of beans, which it is supposed to reduce). 2 lbs of Great Northern, 1 lb of Navy. Monday I got up, threw together a couple loaves of Amish white bread to have with, and then I started this soup.

    Here’s a recount of the madness: First I brought the rind broth/starch water to a boil, and added a head of celery and leeks, WHICH I JUICED.Yeah. If you’ve never juiced a leek, I have one suggestion for ya…stand back. Waay, waay back. After adding their juice to the broth, plus salt, garlic infused olive oil, and spices, I cooked the beans down soft, still in the stock pot.

    Next I strained the beans out of the broth and pureed them in the food processor. Then I threw the Navy beans into the pot and cooked them down soft. Finally I added the bean puree back in along with scissored ribbons of curly kale and a mire poix of carrots, onion, and celery sauteed in the garlic olive oil, and cooked the whole thing together for 20 minutes. I didn’t want the kale to get squicky.

    Honey, that soup left a friend speechless. She just kept stuttering “it’s..it’s so…good, with the bread” in almost reverential tones.

    I have lived on it for a week, and am pretty sure its the best savory thing I have ever made. And I don’t even like Kale. The bean puree gave it a richness, almost a creaminess, the way it interacted with the parm broth. Holy smokes.

    I just wanted to share where my brain went after being inspired by your “simple soup”. I just kept..layering it in my mind until I had this whole plan, and it was a wonderful cooking experience.

    Big, big love… here’s to another decade of being Smitten.

  147. Jillian L

    This is incredibly delicious and such a rich broth. I made it in my Dutch oven, so I didn’t have any issues with cheese sticking to the bottom of the pot. And instead of white beans I threw in some cooked chicken leg meat. Will absolutely be making again and again.

  148. christina

    I am a huge fan and have made numerous recipes from your blog – thank you! This recipe sounded just perfect for our MI sub zero weather, so good that I even bought rinds at Whole Foods. Well, so disappointed. No flavor, watery mess ( used cheesecloth for the rinds) tried to doctor it up, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of this simply soup. I used aged Parmesan and Reggiano any suggestions?? Clearly EVERYONE loves it so it must be some secret trick I missed

  149. Hi Deb- I’m just wondering if you cover the pot when you simmer this for an hour. I can’t get a straight answer as to whether simmering implies covering… Forgive my naievete :)

  150. After having read recipe for parmesan broth I started collecting parmesan rinds, immediately. I even asked friends not to put theirs to the garbage but save them for me. It took me months to gather a relevant amount, obviously about 3 and 1/2 months – though, your post was never forgotten.

    Today I finally got to make parmesan broth. And I loved it so much! I added romanesco and wild rice to mine. It was delicious. Now my thoughts go wild, what to do next with it. Poaching eggs in it, using it as base for a rich pasta sauce, adding it to dough for hearty pies or even scones…

    Thank you so much for this inspiration!

  151. Bri

    Deb you should put a disclaimer about the mess this makes. Had I known I wouldn’t have done it in my le creuset….this is going to take at least 35 minutes of pure elbow grease to clean up!

  152. Terry

    Hi this parmesan rind soup sounds delish. But I’m not a fan of kale or white beans. So you think chick peas and spinach would fare well?

  153. Bridgit

    Made this yesterday, with ravioli. Had the leftovers with extra beans for lunch. My somewhat picky son that it was the best! Thanks.

  154. My family and I have just started ‘Soup Thursday’, as we all work Friday and Saturday and when we make a soup we usually have enough to get us through Saturday night. Our maiden voyage starts with your soup. I can’t think of anything that sounds more delicious! Thank you for the inspiration.

  155. Jenna

    Pretty great! Made today with the addition of tortellini. I did not use the full half lb of parmesan rinds, but it was still rich and delicious. A very filling dinner. The toddler ate it all up, too!

  156. Asma

    the soup is in the making and its smelling really good. my question is actually about the parmesan. I just cant imagine throwing away the whole thing after used. do you think its possible to re use it? re freeze it? or anything.. thank you in advance :)

    1. deb

      Asma — You wouldn’t be throwing away the parmesan, just the rind, i.e. the “bones.” I’m not sure there would be much flavor left in them once they’d been used for this broth, but I suppose it cannot hurt to find out if it can be used again.

  157. Amy P

    I just made this this morning for lunch. After simmering the broth, I strained it out into a bowl and then used the pot to boil some tortellini (I could’ve just cooked the tortellini in the broth…but this way the pot was basically clean ;)
    Thanks for the great idea! I never found that the parmesan-rind-in-pasta-sauce thing did much for me, but that could be because my pasta sauce is already pretty full of different flavours and the parmesan didn’t stand out, or because my palate isn’t exactly sophisticated :) This was a much better use of all my rinds!

  158. Jillian

    Gorgeous! My grandmother would be super proud. I DID add pastina, bacon (crisped up in teensy strips) and egg (in addition to the spinach and beans)- so basically – my grandmother’s pastina from childhood. It’s a memory based dish for me, and so luxurious that I can’t wait to make the broth again and do risotto. Thank you, Deb. You’re the best.

  159. amber

    I save all my parmesan rinds in the freezer now thanks to you. With all veggie scraps I freeze throughout the month, it makes the best stock. Thanks!

  160. Rachel

    This might be the soup to start my recovery from a stomache bug my dear children brought home from school. Now to summon the energy to get off the couch and make it…

  161. Nancy

    This recipe, and your description of the serving, haunted me all day.
    First time I’ve ever read in the am and eaten in the pm…..
    DELICIOUS. Used canned beans because of time limitations, and baby kale…so no cutting out center ribs…..DEVINE.

  162. Katie

    I made this tonight – and the jury is out. I think the problem might be rinds that were not that fresh, combined with having very little cheese left on them.

    But I’d also second Christina (#225) about the cheesecloth. I used it, and after an hour my broth was watery and flavourless. I cut open the cheesecloth on one bundle of rinds, and left it for another hour. At that point my broth looked more like Deb’s.

    If I make it again, I will use rinds that have never been frozen with more cheese on them. And I’ll put them right in the pot and suffer the sticky consequences!

  163. Agnieszka

    Made this tonight… not necessary a soup/broth, but more used this as a base for stew. Threw in few piece of a Parmesan rind that I have in a freezer, sauteed small onion and added 3 sliced garlic cloves and 3-4 coups of water, added dried sage and bay leaf, after 1 hr I added beet greens and beans, cooked without a lid to make it something in between a soup and a stew. I salted it plenty to tasted, husband and I really enjoyed it. Thank you!

  164. CarolS

    I was really looking forward to eating this soup tonight, but ended up being very disappointed. I think my mistake was to add the 1.5 cups of bean cooking liquid (as suggested) because I ended up with a thin, watery soup with not enough beans or greens. Thank goodness I had some bread to go with this! Will not make it again.

  165. Ioana

    Made this tonight, post storm, and it was delicious! Paired with Melissa Clark’s White Bean Stew with Rosemary and Garlic (ladled beans into broth), added the kale, and boy, is this ever a winner…..

  166. Carolie

    My wonderful husband went all over town looking for parmesan rind for me — finally got an Italian restaurant that took his number and called him when they had a bunch, no charge.

  167. Melissa

    Deb, still haven’t made this recipe but I am up to about 2 lbs of rinds in my freezer, so it’s in the queue soon. Meantime, your comment about the kitchen shears on the kale stems reminds me of a new gadget my mom got me, which is a kale stripper:
    http://www.amazon.com/Chefn-Chard-Collard-Greens-Stripper/dp/B00QWNRGS8

    It is a single use only tool; however, it’s small and flat and fits in a drawer. I was skeptical, but it works great. My kale + chard + other thick stemmed green leafy veggie consumption has probably increased 4-fold in the last few months. Highly recommend.

  168. Shelly

    I made a small batch of this & used the broth to make a farro risotto with mushrooms, served with sautéed spinach and freshly grated Parmesan on top. The house smelled heavenly, and it was quite delicious – and really easy. Thanks for the lovely ideas!