Friday, April 24, 2009

White Bean Soup

Too many soups? Well, I'm trying to cook healthy and I love soups, because they're tasty, pack a nutritional punch and best of all are so easy to make. Pair them with a salad/sandwich or even a simple entree and you have a fabulous weekday dinner.

I tried a new recipe this week, made with the versatile cannellini or white beans, it's creamy texturally because of the pureed beans and milk and very satisfying. I used a pressure cooker to cook the beans since they take a long time to cook (>30 mins on the stovetop in Ina's recipe), but you can definitely use canned beans to save time. I used whole peppercorns and if you dont like getting one in your mouth, substitute with the powder or use a bouquet garni. I liked this version a lot because I think the original might be a bit bland for my tastes.

Though I do feel like I might be desifying all my recipes a bit much, will make a conscious effort not to use cumin/curry powder in the next soup I try :)

White Bean Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe

1 and three quarter teacups dried white (cannellini) beans (1 teacup ~125 ml)
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
half cup low-fat milk (other options: cream, half and half)
water if needed
1 heaped tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6-7 pepper corns
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. italian seasoning
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak the white beans overnight.

Next day, drain the beans and put in the pressure cooker. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and enough broth (I used 2 cups) to cook the beans. It took 6 whistles with my pressure cooker. Keep them aside, dont throw away the cooking liquid.

In a stock pot, heat some oil and add the red pepper flakes. Once it becomes aromatic, add the onions and stir them on medium heat until they become transparent.

Add the garlic, cumin powder, italian seasoning (crush in hand a little bit) or fresh rosemary as the original recipe states, a little salt and pepper if needed and cook until the garlic becomes soft. Add some of the cooking liquid from the cooked beans if the cumin powder starts burning.

Add the beans, rest of the liquids and simmer for about 5-10 mins.

Fish out the bay leaf (and any other herbs), then puree the mixture to the desired consistency, and check the seasoning. If you like the soup thinner, add more broth/water.

Serve hot.


avdi said...

cp i like soups. but i often find the recipes puzzling. Like, whats a broth. How do i go about procuring some? White beans are rongi?

couchpapaya said...

hi avdi, does vegetable stock ring a bell? in the US stock is called broth. we get it in cans/packets in the groceries.

if u dont get it there, what u can also do is if u get the bouillion cubes (i think they are called that, by kraft/maggi). the brands might be wrong, but i'm pretty sure u get those in india. will check on the brand for u.

or else u can make it at home - my grandmom used to make chicken stock, take bones of chicken and pieces like neck etc, add some veggies like carrots, onions, celery, cabbage, boil it all together with some herbs & spices (bayleaves, peppercorns, garlic) for some time. she'd then separate the liquid and store it in the freezer to be used whenever she wanted. i think that used to form the base of an amazing chicken soup too ... oh i promised u a recipe didnt i, will ask her for it!!

white beans are the ones used to make baked beans. am not sure of the hindi translation, will ask mom and let u know. the link i posted has a picture of the beans if that helps ...

couchpapaya said...

almost forgot- if u dont get anything or it's not stocked at home, u can always use water. there will only be a slight flavor difference.

samir said...

Good soup recipe, I will try it out someday. I have to contribute to this blog (missing in action for a long time.)
Noted that it is Ina Garten's :)
Also Noted Bouquet Garni :)

couchpapaya said...

samir - that's what comes of being a FN junkie. tho to be honest, i've never made a bouquet garni - twine and sachets being too fussy for me ... i prefer going rustic :)

Bouncing-Bubble said...

excellent.I'm very lazy when it comes to soups, I don't experiment beyond tomato or veg soup. maybe I'l try this one.

and am a bit confused when it comes to herbs & their uses...their effects to be specific. but i'll try this one..

Bouncing-Bubble said...

cp, avdi- i think its chawli..looked up now

avdi said...

BB thanks ! Chawli? Doesnt ring a bell yet. Lekin atleast I have an indian name - thats a start.

couchpapaya said...

bubbles - let me know what u think if u try it ... and thx for the name, i had no luck. as for herbs, sometimes when a specific recipe calls for them i buy. but, i dont like rosemary too much, so i knew if i bought it the rest would never get used up. generally if i substitute i do so with whatever is on hand ... if it means coriander leaves then so be it :D

avdi - apparently in blore they are labelled mysore beans on the packets, sometimes also called white rajma. sorry, doesnt look like too much help :(

Smita said...

As have said earlier i hardly like soups so chances of my trying this recipe are bleak but a good one. And white bean is known ramaas or lobhiya up north.

couchpapaya said...

smita - thx for the names. tho i use lobiya for the bean with the black eyes ... this one doesnt have the black in the center.

Angel's Flight said...

yummm...and full of protein!

couchpapaya said...

angel - thx,ur so right! :)

Bouncing-Bubble said...


I made this twice..the second time I made it with butter beans just for the heck of it. I'm really impressed with this and would make it regularly.

couchpapaya said...

hey bubbles!!! glad that u liked it, and what a great idea! once i look up butter beans in the glossary am going to try that too :D