Nothing brings chilled-air comfort like a piping hot bowl of soup. We’re on the other side of winter now- the days are getting a bit longer, the weather is at that lovely stage where it can be totally mild in the high 40’s and then slam us with a polar vortex the next day. Either way, you’re going to want to have this recipe handy (if it’s not already simmering away on your stove.)
We’ve all had white bean and escarole soup. This version is a little more lax with the type of green you use and offers a substantial punch in the taste department. A whole bulb of roasted garlic is blended into the broth, creating a depth of flavors that range from slightly sweet to nutty. It’s not that typical acrid quality we associate with raw garlic. Roasting mellows everything out and gives it a buttery quality you will want in every recipe. You can even spread it on toast. I’m not kidding. I have. And will again.
Because sautéed vegetables and white beans are blended into the broth it becomes a bit thicker, almost like you added a dollop of heavy cream (but without the dairy or extra fat.) Which is good and fine for when you want those types of things, do NOT get me wrong. However, white bean soups rarely call for a cream base. So not only are we keeping with tradition, were keeping it light. You can absolutely make this soup without blending the veg and beans, but I definitely think you should give it a try. It offers a structured lusciousness to the soup as opposed to chunks of vegetables aimlessly floating in a thin broth.
The title “white beans and greens” comes from it being fun to say because it rhymes. And because this soup can have any dark green you want (spinach, kale, escarole, broccoli rabe, chard, etc) it’s nice to keep the title a bit generic.
As always, enough with the chit-chat! Here’s the recipe you’ve been scrolling for.
WHITE BEAN AND GREENS SOUP in ROASTED GARLIC VEGGIE BROTH
- Two carrots, peeled and diced
- Half a white onion, diced
- One celery stalk, diced
- One bulb of garlic
- 1 tbsp and 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 15oz can of Cannellini/white beans
- 2 cups dark greens, chopped thinly or shredded
- 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp crushes red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
Chef’s knife, vegetable peeler, heavy bottomed bot, blender, tin foil, wooden spoon, appetite. Glass of wine and upbeat jazz optional but encouraged.
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Take a whole, intact clove of garlic and slice approx. ¼ inch off the top, exposing the individual cloves.
- Place garlic in a piece of tin foil, shaping it around the bulb so it becomes a little cup
- Drizzle 1 tsp EVOO of on over the exposed cloves and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the clove a slightly browned and soft
WHITE BEAN SOUP:
- Over a medium flame, heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a heavy bottomed soup pan
- Add diced onion, carrot, and celery to the heated olive oil and sautee until translucent
- About 5 minutes into cooking, add the red pepper flakes so their heat can bloom in the hot oil
- Continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes until all the vegetables are softened
- Drain and strain one can of white beans and add to vegetables
- Add half a quart (2 cups) of vegetable broth and bring to temperature (just before simmering)
- Take off the heat and add all the broth, half the vegetables, and all of the roasted garlic cloves (removed from their jackets) into a blender. Make sure the top is vented to release the steam and blend until smooth **you can also use an immersion blender directly in the pot of soup- just remove half the vegetables and place in a bowl on the side**
- Place the blended mixture back into the pot with the remaining vegetables and add the rest of the broth
- Bring to a simmer and add the shredded greens. Allow the soup to cook down slightly (10-15 minutes tops)
- Salt and pepper to taste, serve hot!