I learned to appreciate legumes in Spain, at my in-law’s house because she usually makes them twice a week. My husband’s mother is a great cook, even though she says otherwise. And she’s especially talented with legumes—her white beans are terrific! A nice thing about white beans is that they are versatile. You can use white beans in a variety of ways: casseroles, chili, salads, even desserts. It should be no surprise that they’re good for you. They’re a great source of fiber and protein they have no cholesterol. I’m always doing something with them, too; Cornucopia Cassoulet, White Bean Dip, Wicked Vegan White Beans, and now today’s recipe.
This week, bloggers taking part The Food Matter’s Project are making Mark Bittman’s recipe for roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup with Parmesan; my dish is inspired by his. AdrienneEats is hosting the project this week, and you can find Mark’s original recipe there. You can also check this link to see what the other participants have come up with.
Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, to 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours (This includes 8 hours of unattended pre-soak of beans)
If you’ve been following me you know that I always make beans from scratch. This means planning ahead to pre-soak them. It’s best to start soaking the beans the night before cooking, but you can also get them soaking the same day, as long as they soak about 8 hours. The recipe has 4 easy basic steps: Make the soup, make the pesto, pan fry the asparagus, and then garnish the soup with the asparagus and the pesto.
Ingredients for the Soup:
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 leeks, white part only, well rinsed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper
½ cup dry white wine (optional)
¾ pound pre-soaked white beans, navy or great Northern
6 cups fresh vegetable, or chicken stock
1 pound asparagus, peeled if thick
Ingredients for the Cilantro Pesto:
6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, (not elephant garlic)
1 bunch cilantro, about 1 cup of leaves (save a few leaves for garnish)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Procedure for the soup:
1. Pour the olive oil into a large pot and then add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring as needed. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue to stir so neither the leeks nor the garlic burn, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half.
3. Add the white beans and the stock, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you are using a pressure cooker, once it comes up to temperature, lower the heat to medium-low and cook about 30 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in the blender in several batches. Blend 2 to 2-½ cups at a time, or the pressure from the steam in the covered blender can cause a small explosion, sending soup all over. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Procedure for the Cilantro Pesto:
1. Put the garlic and the red pepper flakes in a food processor and process until the garlic is minced, and then add the cilantro and process just until it is chopped.
2. Slowly add the olive oil to the cilantro while the food processor is running. Add salt to taste.
Procedure for the asparagus:
1. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 10-inch skillet and then add the asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is tender and lightly season with salt.
To Serve– Stir the pesto well and place it in a bottle with a small opening, like a pointed mustard bottle. Ladle the soup in the bowls and then add the pesto to the soup by drawing a circular pattern that starts in the center and circles around 3 times. Or, use a small spoon to spread it onto the soup. Use from 3 to 5 asparagus tips in the center of the soup and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve the remaining asparagus on the side.
This recipe is also posted at The Pennywise Platter