Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Moosewood Restaurant's Tuscan Bean Soup

Sometimes recipes surprise you. Sometimes you scan a list of ingredients, and mentally check off in your head that you do have everything required. The recipe doesn't thrill you, but you need something to make for dinner. You start the dried beans cooking in the slow cooker, and later you chop the other ingredients. The soup smells good while cooking, but your expectations remain low. You are happy to skip the whole soup in a blender step by using your stick blender, but otherwise you follow the recipe to the letter.

And you sit down to eat. The first bite is filled with sagey goodness, and the luscious thickness of the beans is comforting on a cold January night. The carrots add a touch of sweetness, and the soup as a whole has a complex flavor that belies the simple ingredients. Both you and your husband enjoy the warmth of the easy yet filling Tuscan Bean Soup.

As the leftovers sit in the fridge, they do absorb a fair amount of liquid. I found that if I wanted to enjoy them as soup, then I had to add water or broth. But, I also found the drier leftover soup made an excellent quesadilla filling. Just throwing that out there, if you're feeling adventurous.

Tuscan Bean Soup
Moosewood Daily Special

2 c. diced onions (about 1 large)
1 c. peeled and diced carrots (2-3 medium)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 T. olive oil
15 large fresh sage leaves (or other herbs)
6 c. cooked pinto, Roman, or small red or white beans*
3-4 c. vegetable stock, bean-cooking liquid, or water
salt and pepper to taste

*Beans: 3 15 or 16 oz. cans, undrained. Or, 2 c. dried beans yields about 6 c. cooked.

In a soup pot, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil on medium-low heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stack the sage leaves and cut them crosswise into thin strips. Stir the sage into the vegetables. Add the cooked beans and 3 c. of the stock or other liquid. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is hot and simmering, 5 to 10 minutes.

Carefully ladle about 3 c. of the soup into a blender and puree into smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup. (Using an immersion blender sparingly also works.) If you wish, add more liquid for a less thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, gently reheat the soup. Serve hot.


Joe said...

Glad to see you posting again!

Michelle said...

Glad you're back in the blogging swing of things! This soup looks good. I love the combination of beans and sage. Perhaps I'll toss some beans in the crock pot this morning and have them ready to make soup later in the week!

Helios said...

Thanks for the support, and for stopping by! :)

Michelle - I cooked the beans for the soup in my crockpot, and was thrilled with the results.