It may officially be spring, but the weather has yet to internalize the need to shift its gears from cold and overcast to warm and blue sky. And when skies do clear, the temperature still calls for cozy comfort food.
I am a fan of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. I would guess that I test out at least 90 percent of the recipes in each issue, and most of them make it into our menu rotation. Of late, we're hooked on a white bean soup from a recent issue.
When I first tested out the recipe, it was noticeably bland, probably because it is pitched as a quick 15-minute soup. I love the idea of a super speedy soup, but let's face it: Soup is meant to simmer so the ingredients can soak up each other's goodness and meld. And it was just missing something.
I played with the recipe over a few attempts and the final result is a white bean soup with more game. The kicker ingredient is the rind of a block of parmesan-reggiano, which infuses the soup with a rich, creamy texture.
Here's the recipe:
2 tbs olive oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs dried oregano (1 tbs fresh)
2 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
2 cans of white/cannellini beans, rinsed
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 box chicken stock
Rind of parmesan-reggiano block
Sea Salt/pepper, to taste
Extra parmesan-reggiano for serving
Crusty bread or homemade croutons
1. Heat olive oil in large soup pan. Add green onions and oregano, cook until onions are soft and fragrant, about five minutes (don't let the onions burn!)
2. Add the white beans and chickpeas along with the full box of chicken stock and the rind of parmesan-reggiano. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 min, stirring occasionally.
3. Mash the beans so that the soup is a mix of chunky/creamy. I use a Cuisinart hand blender and do this right in the pot (and leave the rind in the soup). I like the soup to be smooth with mushy beans, versus totally creamy. Add salt/pepper to taste. You don't have to add too much salt since the parmesan-reggiano
3. Serve in bowls topped with grated Parmesan-reggiano and homemade croutons or warm, crusty bread. (A nice glass of white wine doesn't hurt, too!)
This recipe makes about six servings (we always have leftovers — it's deelish the next day for lunch).
Also, your kitchen will smell amazing.