One of the joy’s of Fall is a return to making soup. Such a comforting and nourishing staple throughout the Fall and Winter months, a pot of soup is easy to whip up making the perfect lunch or light supper. White Bean and Escarole is a favorite, the secret to this soup is the STOCK. It has to be rich, flavorful and bold, there are very few ingredients in the recipe so the fullness of the stock is key to an extraordinary soup. Anything watery will end up tasting – well, very watery and unsatisfying. Homemade stock is fabulous, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to make it, try and find some really great store bought. Pacific makes a good one, but honestly buy a few different brands and experiment as they really do vary.
Escarole is a rather tough looking lettuce, which makes it a perfect instrument for soup, it’s nice and sturdy and won’t disintegrate during cooking. It’s good for you too, offering lots of fiber, vitamins and nutrients. I like to add a hearty fresh sprig of rosemary to the pot as white beans taste so wonderful with a hint of rosemary. You could of course use dried white beans, (soak them overnight then cook them for about an hour to soften them up) but I tend to use canned (BPA free and no salt) as it quickens the whole process and I don’t really taste that much of a difference if I’m honest.Print
White Bean and Escarole Soup
A quick and easy, deeply nourishing vegetable soup
2 –3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 sticks celery, diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence OR Bragg’s Seasonings
1/2 teaspoon Harissa spice (optional)
2, 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
32 ounces good quality vegetable stock
1 fresh sprig of rosemary (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 large bunch of escarole, washed and roughly chopped
Juice of a lemon
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions, stir well, sprinkle over the kosher salt and allow to cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally until golden. This could take up to 20 minutes.
Add the carrots, garlic and celery, cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the black pepper, Herbes de Provence OR Bragg’s Seasonings and Harissa spice if using. Stir well. Add the drained and rinsed beans, stir well.
Pour over the vegetable stock, add the escarole, bay leaves and the fresh sprig of rosemary if using, stir, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Allow to cook until the beans and veggies are tender. Remove from heat.
Remove 1 cup of the soup, place in a blender and blitz then return to the pot, stir well, this will help thicken the soup. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.