Friday, February 12, 2010

White Bean Soup with Fresh Sage

From Kurt Beecher Dammeier's 'Pure Flavor': 
"When cold weather settles in, it's time for this rich soup.  Bacon adds even deeper flavor to the classic Italian white beans and sage combination..."

1 T unsalted butter
2 T roughly chopped fresh sage
4 oz bacon (about 4 strips), diced
About 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
11 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 15 oz cans Great Northern beans,
     drained and rinsed in cold water
3 T finely chopped, drained
     sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 T chopped green olives
2 oz Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. 
Cook until the butter browns, about 2 minutes.
Add the sage and saute for 30 seconds.  Set aside.

Heat a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the bacon and saute for 6 minutes or until crisp and brown.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a small bowl, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.  Return the pan to medium heat.

Add enough olive oil to the bacon fat to make about 4 tablespoons total.  Add the garlic cloves and stir until they are fully coated.  Cook the garlic until it just begins to brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic to the bowl with the bacon.

Add the celery and onion to the pan and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and translucent but not brown.  Add the wine, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the wine has nearly evaporated.  Add the stock, beans, bacon, garlic, half of the sage, 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon of the olives, and the cheese, salt, and pepper.  Blend the mixture briefly with an immersion blender, just until the garlic is chopped.  (The texture should be chunky.)  Alternatively, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender, returning the soup to the pan after processing.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve the soup garnished with the remaining sage, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.


Makes 4 cups; serves 2 to 4

My Review

What a lovely soup.  So many flavors that work so well together!  The garlic and bacon are obvious, but the hint of sage is earthy.  I had to make this soup before the weather turns.  We enjoyed this with crusty whole wheat bread and a nice glass of the Two Vines from Columbia Crest.  Not a bad way to start the weekend!

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