Ready in 45 minutes
For a truly vegetarian soup I leave out the bacon.
Method: In small bowl cover mushrooms with 1/2 c. warm water and let stand 20 min. Drain,reserving liquid; chop mushrooms; strain liquid thru cheesecloth. In lg. pan heat oil and fry bacon, if using. Add onion , garlic carrots, celery, cabbage, potato, spices. Cook till softned, stirring frequently. Stir in stock, tomatoes, vinegar, mushrooms and soaking liquid. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in kidney beans, and kale and simmer 5 minutes or until kale is tender. (Can be made ahead to this point.) Ladle soup into 13 x 9 pyrex baking dish. Arrange bread slices on top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling and top is crusty and golden. Serve with extra grated cheese. Makes 6-8 generous servings, or 8-10 modest servings.