Sunday, January 9, 2011

Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup

Recipe from The Gardeners' Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

This sure is a comforting soup. It is easy to make and it tastes best a day or so after it’s made. It freezes well too. Make this ahead for a Meatless Monday meal. Serve it with a crusty loaf of bread. Try it with Perfect Loaf of Bread (No Knead) (Recipe on this blog and pictured here with the soup.)

2 cups dried Great Northern beans or navy beans (Cover the beans with at least 2 inches of water. Do not salt the water! Soak the beans over night and then drain and rinse.)

2 bulbs of garlic (Remove the outer papery skin. Only remove the first outer layer or two; leave the rest. Then cut the top off about ¼ of the way down the head of garlic.)
Olive oil

1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 large bay leaf
1 small turnip, cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 small potato, cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
¼ cup fresh minced parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

2. Place the soaked beans in 3 quarts of water along with the rosemary, thyme, fennel, and bay leaf. (Do not add salt at this point because the beans will never become tender.) Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered about an hour until the beans are half tender.

3. Meanwhile, cut a piece of foil big enough to wrap the garlic into. Place the garlic onto the foil and then drizzle them with olive oil. Now wrap up the garlic with the foil. When the oven is ready, place the foil wrapped garlic on the oven rack and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cloves are tender. Set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

4. Add the turnips, potatoes, onion, carrots and parsley to the beans. Add 1 to 2 cups of water so that the vegetables are barely floating freely. Continue to simmer for another hour until the vegetables are tender and the mixture becomes soupy.

5. Squeeze the garlic bulbs so that the roasted cloves fall into the soup. Discard the garlic bulb skins. Using an immersion blender (or blender or food processor) blend just until the soup is still slightly chunky, but not smooth.

6. Add Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 15 to 20 minutes until the beans are completely tender.

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