March 19, 2017
This super simple, creamy soup is another recipe from Shain Brown. Its a basic recipe for a hearty filling soup that can be modified so many ways.
You can buy white beans (also called navy beans) in a can, but it is super simple to cook them from dry beans. And there are benefits to using dry beans – no BPA from the can, cheaper (about 50% cheaper), smaller carbon footprint (dry beans are lighter to transport than cans full of water)…and you don’t have to lug those heavy cans home after shopping or recycle them later.
One cup of dry beans makes three cups of cooked beans. Step 1 below outlines how to cook beans from scratch by soaking them first, then cooking. (You can cook the beans without soaking first, but soaking will remove more of the compounds that cause the gas issues common with bean consumption.)
I like to cook up a big batch of beans and then freeze the drained beans on cookie sheets. Once frozen , store in ziplock bags and whenever you need them for a recipe you can easily remove how much you need.
Shain’s basic recipe starts with dry beans, but you can easily substitute already cooked beans. I was out of frozen cooked white beans, so I cooked up another big batch to restock my freezer. If your beans are already cooked, you will skip Step 1 and start at Step 2.
I love this soup as it is so versatile. All you really need is white beans, and the rest you can modify. I had a leek in the fridge and some leftover squash that I added to the soup (in Step 2). I also added smoked paprika and liquid smoke to create a bacony flavor. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge to create your own version.
Basic Creamy White Bean Soup
- 1 cup dry white beans (or 3 cups cooked, or 2 15 ounce cans)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Step 1 – If using dry beans, soak the beans overnight. (In a hurry, no problem. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let sit 1 hour. You will get the same results as soaking overnight.)
Drain soaked beans and place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour. Drain beans. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans.
Step 2 – Add vegetable broth, and garlic to the cooked beans. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
You can vary the soup up by adding other veggies at this point. I added one chopped leek and 1 cup of butternut squash. The squash gave the soup a nice golden color. You could also add diced carrots, sweet potatoes or onions at this point as well. Cook until your veggies are tender.
Step 3 – Using an emersion blender, puree the beans until smooth.
Alternatively, you can puree the beans in a blender. Let the mixture cool slightly and be sure to vent the container to let the steam escape.
If you are not a fan of pureed soups, the soup is also delicious left chunky.
Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. For a smokey bacon-like taste, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of liquid smoke, if you have it. If you like it spicy, add a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder as well.
To add a bit more texture and color to the soup, you can also dry fry up some diced onion and red pepper and add it to the soup.
The soup is also good with finely chopped kale in it. Add it after pureeing and let it simmer for 5 minutes to cook the kale.
Thin the soup out with additional broth or water to your desired thickness.
Step 5 – Serve soup with mushrooms on top. Or green onions.