I have been trying to incorporate more soups into my diet lately. For starters, it’s winter, so soup is a yummy, comforting dish to help warm up a cold day. Secondly, they can be made without spending a lot of money, so the leftovers make great cheap lunch entrees. I happened to read a white bean soup recipe on http://www.foodiefarmgirl.blogspot.com/, and decided her recipe was just what I was craving. With a bit of cayenne for subtle warmth, this white bean soup delivers a creaminess and comfort while at the same time being vegan and low-fat. It definitely makes for wonderful lunches, let me tell you! I happened to freeze some, so I can have a delicious, healthy meal on-hand anytime. This soup makes six servings.
2 cups great northern beans, or other white beans, soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 t fresh rosemary
1 t fresh thyme
1 t fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 small red potatoes, or one large russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ c chopped parsley
1 large pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra parsley for garnish
Place soaked beans, water, rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, and bay leaf in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and let simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a small ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool, and peel cloves.
After beans have simmered for 1 hour, add turnips, potatoes, onion, and carrots. Return to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer, partially covered, for another hour. After simmering, remove bay leaf.
Add garlic cloves, and puree soup in batches using a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, puree soup in pot. (If you choose, you can reserve about ½ c of the soup mixture before you puree it, so that you have some chunky texture to your soup. I just opted to be imperfect and “mostly puree” my soup with the immersion blender.) Add parsley, and return to a simmer for 30 more minutes.
Taste and add cayenne, and generous amounts of salt and pepper, tasting until seasoned correctly. Serve hot, with parsley for garnish, if desired.