Slow Cooker White Bean and Kale Soup with Shrimp

This recipe is an amalgam of several different recipes. I have been trying to cut way down on my meat intake since the beginning of the year. Not full on vegetarian, but I’m trying to limit the number of servings I eat per week. This recipe uses some of my favorite things – fresh herbs, the slow cooker, kale, and shrimp. The shrimp is made at the end of the cooking time on the stove, so you can choose to not incorporate it into any leftovers and use another protein. On night 2 we browned up some andouille sausage and reheated the soup (more of a stew after a day in the fridge) on top. It was great, and it felt like we were having a different meal instead of leftovers.

1-2 tbsp good olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp cumin
several sprigs of your favorite fresh herbs – I use rosemary, thyme, and/or sage
bay leaf
1 can whole fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 lb dry white beans
5 cups water or 4 cups water and one cup chicken broth.
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped.
1 lb shrimp
2 tbsp butter
seasoning to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste

Rinse beans and add to slow cooker on low with herbs, water and or/broth, and can of tomatoes with juices.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven and add tomato paste and cumin, stirring until slightly dark and caramelized. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic and sauté until soft and slightly browned. Add vegetables to slow cooker and allow to cook until beans are soft. Stir occasionally. 6-8 hours. (You can speed this up if you turn it to high). Remove herb stems and bay leaf. Add kale on top and allow to steam for about 10 minutes, then stir in and allow to cook for another 5. You might want to turn the heat to high to help it wilt. When fully cooked, season broth with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle in about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or to taste..

Season shrimp to your liking – I just coat them lightly in Emeril Spice – and melt butter in a large sauté pan. Cook until shrimp is pink and lightly golden on both sides, turning after 2-3 minutes. Serve on top of stew.

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