Friday, November 5, 2010

Tuscan Bean Soup

I adore soup.  It's creative, fancy or simple, handy for feeding lots of people, and so very comforting; quite often, soup can be thrifty too. I make soup whenever it's chilly or rainy - in fact, I get confused in hot weather because I don't have an equivalent (ice cream?  corn on the cob? hmmmm).
I have lots of favorite soups.  Tuscan Bean Soup is one of them.   I created it from a hodge podge of ideas and recipes and I doubt the people of Tuscany would claim it. 

Tuscan Bean Soup - a plan with guesstimates - the times are very sketchy, so make the soup in the afternoon and if it has to sit waiting on the back of the stove, no problem: turn the burner on again to warm it up for dinner

Put 1-2 cups white beans on to soak (overnight is best, but a shorter soaking just means longer cooking - fine for a dreary, cold day)

Cook them until they are very soft with a chopped onion or two.  Do not add anything salty or acidic or they will not get soft.  Add a pinch or two of dry red pepper flakes.  If you have it, add the heel or rind of parmesano reggiano - just a chunk to cook its buttery richness into the soup.

Add a bunch of greens, washed and chopped (kale, collards, spinach, or chard).  When they are mostly soft, add lots of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  The beans should be mostly disintegrated now and the soup should be thick.  A few minutes later, check to be sure the garlic flavor is present.  It's ready to serve, but wait:  add the juice of a half lemon.  Taste it and maybe add a little more.  Perhaps a drizzle of olive oil.

Eat with hearty bread with a slice of cheese.  Or cornbread, as shown here.   Mmmmmm, soup.


  1. "I make soup whenever it's chilly or rainy - in fact, I get confused in hot weather because I don't have an equivalent (ice cream? corn on the cob? hmmmm). "- Me, too! I never make soup in the summer, but once fall arrives, the soup pot comes out. It stays until May, and then back into hiding it goes.

  2. I remember when I was about 12 and camping out with the Girl Guides, each group had to take a turn at making the evening meal for everyone. Most of the days were chilly and raining and there was nothing better than coming back from a ramble to a big pot of "whatever we've got" soup bubbling over the campfire.........some of the concotions were slightly bizzare but they all tasted fantastic to thirty or so hungry girls......I think that's when my love affair with soup began......I still to this day make experimental soup and they're always hot and tasty.

    I especially love bean based soups, yours looks very wholesome, I can feel a soup making session coming on.
    florrie x

  3. I make a similar soup when I have a backlog of turkey broth. Very handy and refreshing after the turkey-n-trimmings debacle.

  4. Yum! That sounds easy and delicious! Soup weather is upon us, too, and I think I'll have to try your Tuscan Bean Soup.

  5. I made this soup today, and it WAS easy and delicious!

  6. I love soup, too, and in fact secretly rejoice when we start getting those chilly, damp days (once I'm *out* of the weather) that are so perfect for warm, comfy soup! This is the upside to the shortening, cooling days for me :-)

  7. Reb, darling, the main idea was from you!

    Elaine, GOOD. Thank you!

  8. Recently I stumbled over the first soup recipe I ever tried...back in 2004! What can I say, I was a late bloomer in the soup department. Now I can't wait to try yours.


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