Recipe Corner: White Bean, Spinach and Garlic Soup


By Christine Vartanian Datian

Ingredients:

2 or 3 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini beans, with their liquid

4 slices low sodium thick-style bacon, cut into small pieces (reserve some for garnish)

1 pound fresh spinach, washed, chopped

1 large onion, diced

3 celery ribs, include tops, chopped

2 carrots, diced or chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf

9 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth OR broth and water may be used

2 tablespoons tomato paste and 2 tablespoons dry white wine

Kosher or sea salt, chopped fresh rosemary, tarragon and thyme to taste or dried spices may be used

1/2 teaspoon each black or white pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne or paprika

2 thick slices day-old Italian or French bread, diced into pieces

Olive oil

Minced parsley

Grilled Italian, French or ciabatta bread

Preparation:

  1. Cook the bacon until browned; drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onions, celery, and carrots with the garlic until vegetables are golden brown.  Add half the crumbled bacon to this mixture.  Add the beans, bay leaf, broth, tomato paste, wine, and spices, and bring to a full boil.
  3. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 45-60 minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until beans and vegetables are tender. Add more broth or water, if necessary, and adjust seasonings.  Discard bay leaf.
  4. Blend soup with a hand mixer for one minute for smoothness, if desired; add the chopped spinach and diced bread to the soup 5-10 minutes before serving.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining crumbled bacon and minced parsley.   Serve with grilled garlic bread, French or ciabatta bread.

Note:  1/2 pound fresh skinless chicken breast, cut in pieces, may be added to the soup; sauté the chicken with the onions and garlic, etc., and add to the soup.   Omit the bacon if chicken is used.

Serves 4-6.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at  <http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/> http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to:   < <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian> http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian> <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian> http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian