Tuesday, November 16, 2010

White Bean Soup with Escarole and Homemade Croutons - serves 4

There's a chill in the air and that means it's time to make soups.  This is my favorite time of the year and I love to make soups. During these next few months, I'll make at least one, massive pot a week.  It's super easy to make, especially when you're short on time, like me, particularly when my dog (former sous chef) ate 2 dozen homemade, organic, molasses, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies.  Each had been individually wrapped in cellophane.  Oh, and let's not forget the bag of almonds either.

So, instead of taking advantage of the wonderful cool front Mother Nature brought in for us, I had to take the dog (I can't even call him by name anymore because I'm so disgusted) on a 4 mile+ walk to he could "relieve" himself of his fiber intake.  Serves him right for walking funny.  I mean really.  I was thinking that if the chocolate didn't kill him, surely the fiber would.

So there you have it.  After making his mark throughout the neighborhoods of Lake Highlands, we were off to make soup.  I think he's hungry.  Again.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbs garlice, minced
1 medium to large head organic escarole, trimmed of outer leaves, 2 inches of root end cut off, leaves sliced across  into 3/4 inch wide strips (about 9 - 10 cups), thoroughly washed
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth (or homemade)
1 cup organic canned navy beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Homemade croutons (recipe following)

Heat the olive oil in a 4 quart soup pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened and browned, about 12 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the escarole and stir thoroughly to coat the leaves (and deglaze the pan slightly with their moisture).  Season with salt and a little pepper.  Add the broth, stir well, and bring to a boil; cover the pot, lower to simmer, and cook 8 to 10 minutes.  Uncover the pot, add the beans, and simmer another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.  Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and top with croutons.


2 tbs olive oil
2 cups lightly packed 3/4 cubes/strips of rustic wheat bread or ciabatta
Kosher salt

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the bread and stir to coat with the oil.  Season with slat and saute, stirring constantly, until crisp and browned on most sides, 2 to 4 minutes.

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