This soup is a great example of the finished product being so much more than the sum of the parts. The ingredients are common and yet the resulting soup is superb. It is bright and memorable. (Cooked garbanzos substitute well for the white beans, just cut down on the liquid.) As a variation, melt shredded Jack cheese or Mozzarella over the top and serve this dish as an entrée. This is an adaptation of a recipe found in New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant.
White Bean Soup Ingredients
1 quart chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 cups white beans soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon sea salt
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 small zucchini cut into half rounds about 1/2 inch thick
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
4 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or dry white wine
2 cups pitted black olives sliced or cut in half
White Bean Soup Steps
Put the soaked beans into the stock to cook. When the stock comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, add the salt, stir and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally and add more stock if necessary.
While the beans are cooking, chop and mince the vegetables.
Heat a large skillet with the olive oil.
Saute the garlic for a minute or two. Do not brown!
Add the onion and saute until the onion just begins to brown.
Add the garlic/onion mixture to the bean pot. Leave some of the oil in the skillet for sauteing the zucchini.
Place zucchini in the hot skillet. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and sprinkle with the marjoram, cumin and mint. Toss to coat the zucchini with the herbs.
Saute zucchini for a few minutes. It should be just starting to soften. Do not overcook. The herbs are roasting and developing richer flavor in this step and the squash is absorbing it. Most squash is totally bland. This squash will not be.
Test the beans for doneness. When the beans are fully cooked, add the zucchini, lemon juice and olives. Keep the pot at a low simmer for 10 minutes while the flavors blend. If you do not have fresh lemon, add dry white wine in place of the lemon juice. Do not use bottled lemon juice!
Add more stock if necessary and check for seasonings.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh mint or parsley.
A simple tomato salad and warm flat bread turn this into an especially fine meal.