Martha White, Southern Pantry
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Soul Soothing Soup Supper

Is there anything more welcoming on a cold winter night than a bowl of hot soup and cornbread? During the holiday season, there are times when we just want something familiar and comforting. What comes to mind first for me is white bean soup and hoecakes. I cannot think of anything I’d rather have right this minute!

I did not grow up on white beans or great northern beans, but it didn’t take long for me to learn to love them when I came to Tennessee! (Which doesn’t mean I love my Alabama black-eyed peas any less. I have plenty of bean love to go around.) White bean soup is a classic partially because of its reputation as a favorite at the US Senate cafeteria.

Tuscan White Bean Soup and Hot Water Hoecakes is a little riff on that theme, but with ingredients that pay homage to its Southern roots. This recipe calls for Italian sausage instead of the traditionally Southern country sausage or ham and the addition of kale or collards keeps it close to home.

You couldn’t find a better accompaniment for this soup than old-fashioned Hot Water Hoe Cakes. The name probably comes from field workers who made simple corn cakes on the blade of a hoe cooked over an open fire. Whatever the origin, these Hoe Cakes are the purest and one of the most delicious forms of our beloved cornbread.

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