Posted by: CJW | January 6, 2010

White Bean Soup

Lately, John and I have been on a gastropub kick. It’s just such an ideal restaurant genre for me: creative cocktails, paired with gourmet ingredients in a variety of perfect little tasting size bites. It’s made us more adventurous eaters as we’ve sampled new ingredients, creative flavor combinations, and even dabbled a little into the world of molecular gastronomy.

I made this soup, inspired after a visit to one nearby restaurant. We ate these delicious toasted crostini with a super-smooth white bean puree topped with crispy pieces of kale and white truffle oil. I wanted to recapture some of those flavors but in a way that I could make a substantial meal, so soup came to mind.

It was flavors, mind you, not textures that I wanted to capture. My other thought on this soup was to imitate a relatively fast and super easy black bean soup that I make from time to time where you puree about 2/3 of the cooked black beans and other vegetables in the soup base but leave 1/3 of the beans whole so as to have some complexity to the soup texture. So long story short, I prepped this soup in the same way that I make my black bean soup then finished each individually served bowl with a drizzle of truffle oil.

This was so delicious and comforting. Warm and creamy thanks to the pureed beans without any cream, there was sweetness from the carrots and fennel and a little bit of bitter from the Swiss chard greens. The drizzle of truffle oil gave an earthly, slightly pungent kick. I think this would be even better with some thin slices of baguette made into crispy, garlicky croutons for a good textural contrast.

  • 3 14.5oz cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • 32 oz vegetable stock plus 2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • white truffle oil

In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes until carrots are softened. Add the drained white beans and leaves from the rosemary. Add the stock and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the soup simmers and continue simmering for 20 minutes.

Remove 2 cups of the soup to a blender and holding the lid down with a towel, puree until smooth. Pour the contents of the blender into a bowl and repeat the process with another 2 cups of the soup. Add all pureed soup back into the soup pot and add the rainbow chard, cooking until the chard is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle each bowl with the truffle oil. Pretending you’re in a fancy pants restaurant is optional.

CSA Count: 5

Carrots, garlic, rosemary, fennel, rainbow chard

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