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KALE AND SQUASH SOUP

3/4 lb. dried beans
1 lg. bay leaf
1 tsp. marjoram
2 tbsp. lard, bacon, fat or olive oil
3 med. leeks, thoroughly clean & sliced thin (4 c.)
1 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
2-2 1/2 lb. butternut squash or calabaza, peeled, cut in 3/4" dice
6 c. meat broth or stock
Salt to taste
1-1/4 lb. sm. tender kale; cleaned, stripped, cut in fine slivers
Grated Parmesan cheese

Combine beans in a pot with water to cover by a few inches; boil for 2 minutes. Cover; let stand for 1 hour off heat. Drain, then cover with fresh water; add bay leaf and marjoram. Cover and simmer until barely tender. (Timing varies considerably, about 15 minutes to about an hour, depending on which bean you've chosen and its state of dehydration, so test often.) Drain; reserve cooking liquid. Melt lard in a large casserole; stir in leeks and cook 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add garam masala or curry and stir for a moment; add squash and broth and bring to a boil. Add beans and simmer gently, partly covered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt. Add kale and enough reserved liquid to almost cover it. Simmer until kale is tender, pressing it gently into the soup as it wilts. Serve at once, or for maximum flavor, cool, cover and chill the soup. Reheat and sprinkle with the cheese to serve.