Bean and Acorn Squash Soup with Kale, Gruyere + Parsley Pistou

Sunday dinner was spent with my nearly in-laws, mostly immersed in wedding talk now that our countdown is somehow in the single digits. Just a few more days will be spent in Philly then we're off to Rochester. After a long engagement I can hardly believe we're getting married this week.

Given that fall is, like so many others, my absolute favorite season I've been so ready to dive into fall recipes. After a few rainy and miserable days soup seemed like the perfect meal. Robert came up with this combination and its so packed with flavor. Bean, acorn squash and kale gets topped with shredded gruyere and a parsley pistou. Mixed all together, it is such a good flavor combination. The acorn squash makes the soup slightly sweet, and the pistou adds a sharp kick of parsley. 

Bean and Acorn Squash Soup with Kale + Parsley Pistou
2 cups mixed dried beans (pinto, black bean, cannelloni, kidney, butter beans)
1 large white onion, diced
4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large acorn squash
2 cups kale, ribs and stems removed
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups beef stock
2 tbs butter
3 tsp herbs de provence
fresh shaved gruyere cheese
salt and pepper

Using cold water, rinse dried beans and soak overnight. In the morning, discard water, rinse beans again and set aside until ready to cook. 

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is melted, add onion, carrots, garlic, and celery, season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables have softened about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken stock, making sure to scape up the browned bits (fond) that has formed on the bottom of the dutch oven. When stock has been absorbed, add beans, mixing thoroughly. Add remaining 5 cups chicken stock and 1 cup beef stock. Season with herbs de provence and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, carefully cut acorn squash into 4 quarters. Remove seeds and stringy flesh then chop into large pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. After cooled, cut off skin and chop flesh into chunks. Add to soup with kale and continue simmering until beans are cooked though, up to 2 hours additional*

*Taste beans to check for doneness, ours were done cooking after 1.5 hours (approximately an hour ahead of schedule). Beans should be soft but not mushy when cooked. 

When soup is ready to serve, taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Serve with parsley pistou and grated gruyere cheese. 

Parsley Pistou
1 large bunch parsley, leaves removed from stems
1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse to combine parsley leaves, garlic, and juice from lemon. When a coarse paste has formed, scrape down sides, run food processor and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.