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Total:
3 hr 30 min
Prep:
45 min
Cook:
2 hr 45 min
Yield:
about 4 quarts

Ingredients

To serve:

Directions

Place the beans and the water in a saucepot. Bring the beans to boil, turn off, cool, drain, and discard water. Put the beans back into a pot with 12 cups of water. Add the prosciutto, onion, celery, and carrot to the beans. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until beans are tender. Cook uncovered as slowly as possible, about 1 1/2 hours. Add salt, to taste (about 2 teaspoons), after about 30 minutes or roughly 3/4 of the way through cooking), when the beans are beginning to tenderize. Remove the whole vegetables.

Saute the onion, fennel, and garlic in olive oil in large pot. Add a pinch of salt to pull moisture out. Cook until just softened slightly, but with absolutely no color, about 8 minutes.

Add all the greens, reduce heat to low so the vegetables underneath don't burn (the greens throw their water as they begin to steam). Turn them over as they wilt, so they cook evenly. After 3 to 4 minutes, add all the reserved broth and the beans.

Add the fennel seeds, jalapeno, potatoes, zucchini, and green beans. Simmer for 30 minutes. Skim as needed, if there's foam.

Add additional fennel greens. Bring back to simmer. Add several grinds of pepper.

Pull the chiles out. Remove the stems and mash chiles with a fork with some of the potatoes. Add a little bit of the broth, just enough to make a loose paste.

In each bowl, add 1-cup bread cubes, then ladle over 12 ounces of soup. Drizzle with olive oil and pass around the chile-potato condiment.

Can be frozen.

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