Pureed Provencal White Bean Soup

pureed soup made with white beans, lamb, white wine, carrots, celery, onions and garlic served with crusty bread and Parmesan cheese with a rosemary garnish

 

I love Ina Garten.  Everything about her is chic and fabulous right down to her tailored navy blue shirts .  She lives a glamorous life in the Hamptons where she cooks and hangs out with her friends in her gorgeous home and perfectly kept gardens.  Her food is simple and rustic yet still perfectly in tune with whatever type of party she is hosting.  And the best part is that she never forgets the most important ingredient: the cocktails.

This soup idea came from a recipe Ina made in her show called Four Hour Lamb.  Her version looked mouth-wateringly divine, of course, with the tender meat falling off the bone into a bed of white beans cooked with carrots, onions, celery and bundles of fresh herbs.  She used a whole bottle of wine for her lamb braise.  I didn’t need to use as much for the soup.  So, I was lucky to have a glass while I was making it and another to go with my meal.  I like to think that Ina would agree with my soup/wine combination.  Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese on top and the crusty bread that make this bowl of soup into the perfect French lunch or light dinner, and pour yourself a glass of wine, or two.

 

Pureed Provencal White Bean Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lamb shoulder chop

salt and pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

4 cups chicken stock

3  15 oz. cans white Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

For serving: Parmesan cheese, crusty bread

  Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium high.  Season lamb chop with salt and pepper,  Sear on both sides then remove from pot.  Add onion, carrots and celery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions soften.  Add garlic and wine.  Tie the thyme and bay leaf together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.  Add rosemary and cook until wine reduces to half.  Add chicken stock and beans.  Cook on low for one hour.

  Remove lamb chop and use meat for another use.  (It’s pretty tough so I removed the bones and fed it to the dog.)  Remove thyme and bay leaf.  Puree soup with a hand immersion blender or allow to cool and puree in a regular blender in batches.  Return soup to pot on low and add vinegar, Worcestershire and mustard.  Stir to combine.  Serve topped with Parmesan Cheese and loaf of crusty bread.

 

Thai Carrot Soup with Tahini Swirl

pureed carrot soup with Thai flavors and a swirl of tahini, ginger and lemon dressing

An abundance of grated carrots in my freezer and a craving for sweet, spicy, sour and earthy flavors led me down the path to this recipe. Pureed carrots thickened with rice and seasoned with a hint of fish sauce, warm spices: ginger, cumin and nutmeg and sour notes of lime. To finish it off, I riffed on one of my favorite salad dressings borrowed from Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly from her recipe for “Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame -Ginger Dressing”. (You will not regret purchasing this book as all of the recipes are delicious, easy and useful. So, as soon as you are finished reading this, order your copy!) And yes, I realize that her salad is described as “Chinese” and I am calling my soup, “Thai”. To be honest, in this area, I may not be accurate but I do know what I like. And this carrot soup with Tahini Swirl drizzled on top is a winner.

Thai Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 inch piece of ginger, chopped fine

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chili paste)

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup white rice

8 large carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 can coconut milk

juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

For garnish: fresh cilantro, Sriracha sauce, Thahini sauce (see following recipe)

Add olive oil to a large stock pot and heat on medium high. Add onion, garlic, ginger, salt and chili paste. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil.

Add the carrots, cumin and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, until carrots and rice are soft. Add the coconut milk. Remove from heat and puree soup with an immersion blender or allow to cool before blending in a regular blender being careful to release the steam. Add the soup back to the pot and add lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference by adding more salt, lime juice or sambal oelek (chili paste).

Serve with Tahini dressing, Sriracha and cilantro leaves.

Tahini Dressing

(adapted from Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly)

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons tahini

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste or sambel oelek

3 tablespoons of grapeseed or canola oil

 

Using a whisk, blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve with meats, vegetables or soup. If you would like to use this as a salad dressing, reduce the amount of tahini to 2 teaspoons and increase the oil to 1/2 cup.