Monday, January 14, 2013

White Bean Soup

Wayne and I had a busy weekend this past weekend.  We had his company holiday party to attend Saturday night, and we planned to watch the Patriots game over at Mike and Shirley's on Sunday.  For the latter I was planning to make THE BEST MEATBALLS EVER (recipe at  So on Saturday afternoon I wanted to make our soup for the week, and I was looking for something relatively quick.

A couple months ago my friend Helen had pointed me in the direction of a White Bean Soup recipe by Williams-Sonoma, and I'd been wanting to give it a try.  For Christmas I had been given a bunch of cool new toys for the red cucina, including a super neat can opener (who knew they were still innovating that kind of thing!) and an immersion blender.  The latter I had been wanting to get because it's such a pain to puree anything hot.  You're supposed to let the soup cool somewhat first, but I'm way too impatient for that.  Ladling hot liquid into a food processor only to have hot steam and soup spray go everywhere is a messy and potentially dangerous proposition.  The immersion blender promised to make pureeing a delightful and fast experience done directly in Le Creuset.

The other improvement to my instruments de cuisine was that I finally got all of my knives sharpened last week.  They were in terrible need.  A local grocer called Piazza's has this great knife sharpening service I recently learned about.  You drop off your knives, and each Tuesday they have a mobile knife sharpener come and sharpen them for $7 each.  Then you pick them up when convenient.  Simply fantastic!

So with my immersion blender and freshly sharpened knives at the ready, I embarked upon this recipe:

The soup has a large amount of flavor for the few ingredients in it.  You start out with some chopped pancetta to flavor the oil and season the sauteing vegetables.

It's quite fast to soften all the vegetables and get to the point of adding the seasonings, beans and broth.

After a bit of simmering it is time for the immersion blender to do its thing.  What I hadn't expected was that there would be this powerful suction force pulling the immersion blender to the bottom of the pot.  It was pretty cool.  And it did its work FAST, with no mess.

The soup is really creamy without having any cream.  The immersion blender pureed everything really thoroughly so the soup had the right consistency, and then the addition of the parmigiano reggiano takes it up another creamy notch and adds some depth and saltiness.

We did not eat it the night I made it, so I can't comment on the difference between when it is first made and once it has had some time for the flavors to develop.  Tonight it was delicious with some crusty Italian batard - note my bread bunny.  I love the Acme Italian Batard; it is my favorite bread to warm sliced in the oven to get it nice and crunchy crusty to dip in soup.  This soup has enough flavor that it was a satisfying meal to have just the soup and bread (and some red wine).  I'll definitely make it again.

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