This creamy white bean soup is superb in its simplicity, its warm buttery base accented with the pale green astringency of the celery and an undercurrent of bright lemony flavour. Despite its seemingly precarious balance of delicate flavours this soup is extremely fast to assemble and simple to execute; it’s also an ideal soup to make a double or triple batch to freeze or keep for portable lunches all week because it can be altered so easily each time you serve it (add some aged Asiago or other sharp yet sweet cheese, crumbled bacon, minced dill or rosemary, homemade croutons with olive oil, etc., etc..) I like to puree my soups to a sort of rough/smooth consistency but you can puree until completely velvety if that’s how you prefer, this recipe is quite open to interpretation but under no circumstances should the celery be omitted – if you don’t care for celery I would recommend finding a celery-free recipe elsewhere. This recipe is heavily based on the recipe for creamy white bean soup taken from The Canadian Living website, I’ve used it several times now and most of the alterations concern ingredient amounts and the addition of some butter at the beginning to aid both texture and taste.
creamy white bean soup:
1 cup of dried white kidney beans
1 clove of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil, don’t use an olive oil that is too fruity or peppery
1 Tbsp. unsalted creamy butter
1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 onions, roughly diced (I used white onions for their mild and slightly sweet flavour)
3 stalks of celery, cleaned well and then chopped into half moons
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 fat spring onions, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh basil, cut into a fine chiffonade
1. To cook the kidney beans soak them overnight in cold water or do what I usually do which is soak them in freshly boiled water for an hour or so, rinse, and then put them in a large soup pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Add the garlic clove and bay leaf, heat until boiling and then put the lid on and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half until soft. Remove the bay leaf and drain in a colondar until ready to use.
2. In a large soup pot heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until completely melted together. Add the onions, garlic, salt, thyme and black pepper and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the onions and garlic have softened.
3. Add the stock and the beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes to let the flavours fully incorporate themselves. Take the soup off of the heat and blend with an immersion blender until the desired creamy white bean consistency is achieved. If you are using a stand-up blender make sure you blend in very small batches with a tea towel around the top so that steam won’t build up pressure and burn you.
4. Serve with chopped green onions and fresh basil stirred in or sprinkled on top with some wholegrain toast and a Wilkie Collins ghost story anthology (or whatever else you find relaxing while you eat warm soup on a rainy day.)
Warmth is flooding into my life right now, goldenly and welcomingly. I’m listening to all of this music right now that is beautiful and insulating against the cold, literal or otherwise. Juana Molina is just so bright to me, really stunning and bizarre in the most complimentary way possible. Her music makes it feel sunny in my apartment kitchen, even if it’s persistently rainy and purple-grey out the window. This song in particular has a particular sort of humming sensation that brings out calming happiness for me, a phrase which I think could also describe soups such as this creamy white bean soup, making their match harmonious and sensually satisfying.
Juana Molina – Vive Solo