Green Beans and Greens Soup

This is, like so many soups and stews, remarkably good the next day–that is, if there are any leftovers. To make this vegetarian, omit the bacon and use the olive oil instead. If using chard or beet greens, include the stems.

4 oz bacon, diced, or 2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 bunches greens, stemmed, leaves and usable stems chopped
1 medium to large boiling potato
6 c chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional
fresh basil leaves, for garnish, optional

1. Put bacon in a soup pot over medium heat. Or, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp. Add onion, garlic, and greens stems, if using. (If there doesn’t seem to be enough bacon fat to prevent vegetables from sticking to pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil.) Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Don’t let the onion or garlic brown. Stir in the green beans and chopped greens. Stew together, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, chop potato into 1/2-inch dice (or so). Add to pot along with stock. Bring to the boil, then turn heat down and simmer until potato and greens are tender, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with  parmesan cheese and/or basil leaves.