This past growing season, we made a conscious effort to put more of our legume production into beans for drying. We’ve tried freezing green beans with less than great results so we decided to try something new. We planted two heirloom varieties; Vermont cranberry and Kenearly, a white bean from the state of Maine).
I have to tell you that we having been really enjoying cooking with dried beans. We’ve had baked beans, potato leek and bean soup, and a “killer” red beans and rice among others. Today, we are talking about a soup made with Kennearly beans. The base recipe is taken from “Slow Cooker Revolution”, a cookbook presented by the people behind “America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS. I have tweaked the recipe to satisfy my particular soup making style, but ATK deserves some props. This is my take on their “Tuscan White Bean Soup.”
1 pound white beans (I used Kenearly) soaked overnight in 4 quarts of water containing 2 tablespoons of salt. Beans were drained and rinsed prior to cooking
6 ounces of quality bacon chopped into 1/2″ squares
3 onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of white wine (for deglazing)
6 cups of chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 large sprig of rosemary
- Prep all of the vegetables, stage the rest of your ingredients and setup your slow cooker.
- Place a couple tablespoons of cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) in a large saute pan, heat up the oil and add the bacon. Cook until crispy.
- Add Onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to pan and saute until the onions have browned. Place in slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine and add to slow cooker.
- Add chicken stock, beans, bay leaves and cheese rind to slow cooker. Set on low and cook for 10 hours.
- Twenty minutes before serving, add sprig of rosemary to slow cooker.
- Remove bay leaves, rosemary and cheese rind. Serve with crusty bread and a salad.
Prep time was about 40 minutes and well worth the effort. I forgot to mention that we added some shaved parmesan cheese just before serving. This one is going into the rotation.