I've been busier in my kitchen, which is a good thing, because a girl cannot live on yogurt and poached eggs and toast forever. I needed to break out of the funk and feed myself. Soup is always good for a little soul soothing, so that's what I made. I had some frozen chicken carcasses I turned into absolutely glorious stock and it really added so much depth of flavour to the soup. I used dried white beans, and yes they require a little more tending to than the canned variety, but they are creamier and tastier and worth the extra minutes, in my opinion. Plus I'm trying to reduce the amount of canned goods I consume - that BPA is bad news. Simply soak the beans in plenty of fresh water overnight - and proceed with the recipe the next day. That's all there is to it. Just remember to keep them off the counter your fat orange cat jumps onto, otherwise he'll think it's his new water dish. Ahem, Sunny, I am talking 'bout you.
Roasted garlic - it's your best best friend when you want to make anything delicious. I used the local stuff, so much better for you than the stuffed trucked in from China. Cut the tops off, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast it for an hour or so, until it's all caramelized and creamy. Sauté leeks, celery, carrots in butter, add the beans, a little white wine, your good stock, some rosemary just because I love it, and let it bubble away for an hour or so, until the beans are soft and the soup is thick. Use an immersion blender to make it as creamy as you like. If it's too thick, thin it out with more stock. Easily made vegan by using veggie stock, or you can go the opposite way and add a little bacon. Surprisingly, there was none in my house so I left it out, but I have no doubt it would be quite awesome in this hearty and healthy soup.
Cat on the counter. Again. Good thing he's cute.
Once you ladle up the soup, have fun with the garnishes. Freshly made croutons are quite fabulous, as is the shaved Parmesan cheese. The drizzle of extra virgin olive olive oil is a little luxury, but on these cold, dark days, it's worth it. Tucked up in my little house, I ate two bowls and began again.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Leeks & Roasted Garlic
2 cups dried navy beans. If you are using canned white beans, you need about 5 cups, or two cans.
2 tbsp butter
2 leeks, cut in half, and washed thoroughly
3 stalks celery, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
2 heads of garlic, roasted
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
6-7 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
shaved Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the dried beans thoroughly then place in a large bowl, cover with ample fresh water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse again and set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter, stir in leeks, celery, carrots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes or so. Stir in the rosemary, squeeze in the roasted garlic, the white wine, soaked beans, stock and salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to medium and simmer away, covered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Beans should be falling apart. If it seems to thick, add more stock or water. Use an immersion blender to purée some or most of it - your choice. Adjust seasonings, ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons, Parmesan and a good drizzle of olive oil. Makes about 6 servings.