Monday, June 19, 2006

White Bean and Tomato Soup

Lord I love my stick blender. I don't know what I did without it. Oh yeah, I used my blender or food processor, which were royal pains in the ass to clean.

I overcooked some great northern beans so they were pretty much ruined for baked beans, or anything that left them solid. So what to do with them? These are the ingredients I had on hand that I thought might work:

canned tomatoes

I remembered a recipe for Tuscan White Beans that used those ingredients I made a couple of years ago that had shown some promise, but not enough for me to make it again. With some modifications, I figured I could use the same ingredients to make some soup.

Sage and great northerns complement each other nicely. I'm usually not a huge fan of sage, because it can be overpowering and has such a strong connection for me to stuffing. But in small amounts it can beautifully enhance a dish of beans. While not strictly necessary, the fruity olive oil added at the end really boosts the flavor.

Made with less liquid, this would make an awesome spread with crostini. I think that's what I'll do with the other half.
White Bean and Tomato Soup

3 cups cooked great northern beans, with cooking liquid*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fruity olive oil
5-6 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sage leaves
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
chopped flat parsley for garnish

*If you use organic canned beans, you can probably use the liquid. If you're using a conventional brand, check the ingredients for extra sodium and additives, and if there are any, drain, rinse, and replace with regular water (enough to barely cover the beans).

Place beans and liquid in a 3-quart saucepan and bring up to a simmer.
When the beans are heated through and simmering, add the tomatoes, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Lower heat, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

At the same time, heat a medium-sized skillet and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic to the beans. Take the pan off the heat and, using a stick blender, blend until soup is pureed**. Add the fruity olive oil. Garnish with parsley and serve.

**Or place in blender or food processor in batches and process until smooth.

Makes 4 main or 6 side servings.

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