Beans & Greens Soup

Yield: 8 servings.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups collards, destemmed, washed, and chopped
1 ham hock
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cans white beans, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

In a large stockpot, add olive oil, onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper, collards, ham hock, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, uncovered, on medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir in beans and tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes. Remove sprigs of thyme and bay leaves before serving. (For a vegetarian version, omit the ham hock and substitute vegetable stock.)

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.