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Impromptu: White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Posted Jul 09 2009 6:28pm


What would you do with overcooked white beans? I overcooked mine yesterday and they’re not good enough to be used for salads or as a main dish. There are two things I can do: a puree or a soup. I remember the white bean and fennel mash that Dawn made at Rouxbe. I would never forget that dish that has golden beets, braised kale and pan-fried sole. I haven’t done it although I could imagine how good it is.



I have about two cups of overcooked white beans (I am using Great Northern beans), a few slender sticks of celery, some shrimps and enough chicken stock to make a soup. If you live in the Philippines, you need about 2-3 stalks of celery but if you live in North America you only need one. Since I don’t have any onions left, I roasted some whole garlic that would go well with the white beans. Here’s the recipe for Roasted Garlic.

Actually, the cooked rosemary scented beans are good enough to eat on its own with a little bit of unrefined sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil. But a soup even in the middle of this prolonged summer heat is always good to have in the fridge for those unpredictable hunger pangs. Cook the beans the same way as chickpeas. Adding rosemary breaks down the starch of the beans making them easier to digest.



Beans in general are a good source of fiber and have a low glycemic index which provides a sustained energy while slowly being released into your bloodstream. If you're diabetic and you want to lose weight, include beans into your diet. Beans also contain a good source of protein, B vitamins, calcium, folate and potassium. Although celery is usually used for stocks and as a base for soups, they are good for salads, stir-fries and appetizers. They have the perfect balance of potassium and sodium that the body needs and it's great for water retention.

Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding or reducing the amount of stock that you use. You can leave this soup as is or puree half or all of it. I also added some seared large shrimps. White beans and shrimps or prawns go well together. If you some smoked bacon and parmesan cheese in the fridge, that would go well too.



White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Serves 3-4
  • 1 large stalk celery or 2-3 small stalks celery
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tbsp (light) olive oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 9-12 large shrimps
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste
  • Parsley, for garnish

To start the soup, cut the celery into medium-dice pieces. Heat a medium pot over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil followed by the celery and a pinch of salt. Sweat the celery for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften but do not brown. Add the chili pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the cooked white beans and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Then, squeeze out the garlic onto the soup discarding the skin. Simmer the soup for about 10-15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, peel and devein the shrimps.

To puree the soup, save about a cup of the liquid. Working in batches, puree three-fourths of the soup in blender until smooth and transfer each batch to a clean pot. Add the stock if the soup is too thick and adjust the consistency according to your taste.

Bring the soup back to a simmer and season with salt to taste. Then heat a pan on medium high heat. Season the shrimps with salt and pepper on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the light olive oil, and then sear the shrimps on both sides until just cooked through. I usually take them out when they’re three-fourths cooked. You can serve the shrimps whole or cut them into pieces.

Taste the soup again for seasoning. Ladle onto bowls and garnish with shrimps, a little extra-virgin olive oil and if desired, some chopped parsley.

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