1. Rinse and pick over the beans. Soak them overnight in water to cover by 1 inch. Drain.
2. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves. Sauté until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the drained beans, stock or broth, and water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and adjust heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves. In a blender or food processor, puree 4 cups of the beans and vegetables with some of their liquid. Return to the pot and stir well. If needed, thin the soup with water.
4. Wash the greens well, removing any bruised leaves, thick ribs, or stems that are thick or tough. Stack the leaves a few at a time, roll into a log, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the greens and boil until tender--a couple of minutes for young dandelion and turnip greens, longer for kale or collard greens. Drain, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Stir the greens into the soup. Cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Thin the soup, if needed, with the reserved cooking liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Serve in warm bowls, topping each portion with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare through Step 3. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To freeze, prepare through Step 3 and store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
TO REHEAT: Bring to a simmer over low heat. Proceed with Step 5. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator, then bring to a simmer over low heat and proceed from Step 4.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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