On this beautiful first day of April with snowflakes swirling outside and a fire burning cheerily indoors, homemade bean soup calls to me. I tasted a really good white bean soup at a deli in town where they use a little added ham for flavor. I thought I’d experiment to see if I could come close to it.
It’s important to first soak the beans overnight (rinse them in a colander, place in a large pot and cover with water).
2 cups small white beans, rinsed and soaked overnight, then drained
10 cups water
3 Tbsp vegetarian “Better than Bouillon”
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg white onion, chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup cooked ham cubes
3 green onions, chopped
1. In a large pot over high heat, bring beans, bouillon and the 10 cups of water to a boil.
(Here’s what “Better than Bouillon” looks like.)
2. Reduce heat; let beans simmer, uncovered.
3. Meanwhile, prepare onion, carrots and garlic.
4. In a large pan, cook veggies in olive oil over medium heat until tender, 10-12 minutes.
5. Add cooked vegetables to beans. Continue simmering until beans are tender, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Difference in altitude and hardness of water may cause the time to vary.)
6. Ladel one-third of the bean soup into a blender and process until smooth.
7. Add the blended soup back to the pot. Turn to medium heat; stir in ham and green onion and simmer an additional 15-20 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.