Monday, November 19, 2012

White Bean Soup with Mushrooms

I have kind of an "Ebony and Ivory" thing going on with soup lately. Last month I made black bean soup - this month it's a new kind of white bean soup. This is based on someone else's recipe for white bean soup with mushrooms and butternut squash. But I didn't feel like messing around with winter squash, so this is what you get.


  • 1 lb. dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and  pepper to taste
  • other seasonings: I used cumin, sage, thyme, and a little soy sauce
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced


  1. Sort and rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in cold water. Drain the following day, add to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are just tender.*
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, then saute the onions and your chosen herbs. When the onions are golden, add the garlic and the mushrooms. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and cook them over moderate heat until they start to shrink.
  3. Pour in water to cover, add the carrot and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add the beans along with their cooking liquid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes or until the carrot is tender.
  4. I prefer to rinse out the bean cooking pot and use it to steam the kale separately. But that's up to you.
  5. Discard the bay leaf and season the soup with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Add the (steamed) kale and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the kale is wilted but still bright green.

*How to tell if the beans are done: if you've been cooking them for a while and they seem like they ought to be done, lift one bean out with a spoon and blow on it. If it is cooked the skin will split open. (Sometimes they will split open simply on being exposed to the cold air when lifted out of the pot.) You may choose to cook them a little while longer but at least you will know that you've avoided the dreaded Beans that are Still Hard.

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