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Meat as a Side Dish Recipe#1: White Bean Soup

Posted by flsquared on March 4, 2009

This recipe is adapted (by me) from a White Bean Soup Puree that I clipped from a newspaper (probably the AJC) ages ago but never tried.  It’s really easy to make, with minimal prep time (although you do have to remember to soak the beans overnight).  

Although we love purees, we gobbled this soup up before we got around to puree-ing it!  We’ll definitely make this again, and when we do, I’ll add a photo.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups dried white beans
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil (or Extra Virgin, whatever you have around)
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 chopped leeks (white part only–save the green for stock)
  • 2-4 chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped celery ribs
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • enough chicken broth (I used homemade) to cover beans and veggies in pot–about 8-10 cups
  • 1 tbsp thyme and rosemary (fresh or dried, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup whole milk (can use heavy cream, but I never have that.  I used Victor’s milk instead 🙂 )
  • pinch of salt, pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Soak the beans overnight.  The white beans soak up a ton of water, so be sure to cover them with a few inches of water before heading to bed.

Here’s a hint from my mother-in-law when soaking beans.  This was my big ah-ha! moment as to why her beans were always so soft and yummy and mine failed to open.  SOAK BEANS IN THE HOTTEST WATER YOU CAN GET!  Now, I know that they say not to use hot tap water for cooking, so what I do is nuke some Brita water for a few minutes and use that.  It has made a huge difference!

2.  In a pressure cooker (or in a stock pot, crock pot, whatever you have) add olive oil.

3.  Add bacon and cook until it renders it’s fat.

4.  Add onion, garlic and the rest of the veggies and saute until tender (about 15-20 min)

5.  Drain beans and add to veggies.  Add chicken broth and spices.

6.  Here’s where it will differ depending on what type of cooking pot you use:

  • I love love love my pressure cooker.  If you have one, at this point you will just cover and cook on high until you the little tab comes up showing that the pressure is high.  Turn heat down low, but high enough to keep the pressure high for about 15-20 min.  Then turn off heat and either release pressure or do as I do and let it slowly cool down and release the pressure itself.  
  • On stovetop, the recipe says to bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for about 2 hours (until beans are tender).
  • If you have a crockpot I would put the mixture on low and cook overnight.  However, you may have to experiment as it’s been a while since I’ve used one.  (anyone have any ideas?)

7.  Either use an immersion blender, food processor, etc. to puree (if desired).

8.  Enjoy!

Yield:  about 8-10 servings

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