White Bean Soup

I made this soup a while back and am just getting to write about it now. I think I made it during the last big snow storm, when we got 12 inches on the ground.

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I feel like any soup is comfort food but this one seems to top the list. The creamy white beans and the garlic and fennel flavor is a nice combination. And really, you can’t go wrong with toasted cheese on slices of baguette. Although I substituted whole wheat bread triangles for a lighter version. Still delicious.

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This is the soup you want to make on Sunday morning, so you can eat it Sunday afternoon, and the Monday after that.

Recipe courtesy of My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, stems and fronds removed for another use, bulb thinly slice
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • pinch of red chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  14-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 pints Vegetable Stock (I used low-sodium Chicken Stock instead)
  • Kosher salt

Optional additions:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves town into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 thin slices baguette, toasted
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and garlic, turn the heat as low as it can go, and cook for 1/2 hour, stirring here and there. A little color is okay, but you really the vegetable to get soft and sweet. Add the chile flakes, oregano, and pepper and cook for a minute. Add the beans and stock, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, add salt to taste, and let cook on low heat for 1 hour.

For optional ingredient additions:

Stir in the kale leaves and let cook for 7 minutes, or until just cooked. Ladle into four bowls, float two toasts on each bowl and evenly distribute the cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, less than a minute. Serve.

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