The theme for the 10th week of Tessa Kiros' recipes at I Heart Cooking Club was "Bean There, Done That." More precisely, this is what was on the IHCC site for the week: "Beans offer good nutrition and body to a dish, and work magically with rice, corn, and other grains. And Herbs love 'em. Just ask them."
My favorite thing to do with beans is add them to soups, so this week's assignment had me flipping through the pages of my books looking for a good bean soup. I found one...it's just full of all good things veggie, and beans, of course. Everything retains it's own taste, which I love in a soup, and the little salad-like mix sprinkled on the top at the end really adds a nice touch: clean, crispy, and cool. I am going to remember to do that little technique with some of the other soups that I make, it's just really nice. Definitely a repeat...and it's very pretty, too.
Fasolada (White Bean Soup)
1 pound 2 ounces dried butter (or cannellini, haricot, navy) beans
3 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 2 chopped
1 bay leaf
1 small celery rib
1/2 small onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled, cut into nice chunks
14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
1-3/4 ounces red or green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 very coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chopped celery leaves
best quality olive oil for serving
Cover the beans with plenty of cold water and soak overnight. The next day, drain, and rinse them, and put into a pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that has formed. Drain and rinse again. Wipe any scum that has collected on the pot, then return the beans to it.
Add 8 cups of cold water, the whole garlic clove, bay leaf, celery rib and the 1/2 onion. Simmer, partly covered, for about an hour, until tender. Larger beans will take longer and will need more water. Add salt in the last 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and saute the chopped onion until soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic and carrots and when the garlic smells good, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Swish about 1/2 cup of water in the tomato can and pour into the pot. Put the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
When the beans are ready, pour them and their water in with the tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water if it's too thick. Ladle into bowls and serve with red onion, parsley and celery leaves on top, a drizzle of oil and a grinding of pepper.