Sunday, January 10, 2010

White bean rosemary soup

W hite beans and rosemary... before I gave it a try, I'd never thought of it before. But once I'd had it, the flavors became forever entwined in my mind. This one is a keeper. During the catering days, I made it almost every week for months and months... It was a regular for delivery lunches! I haven't had it in ages (years?) and was craving some soup goodness in all that gray last week... this hit the spot. I made a pot, ladled myself a happy bowl and dipped some toasted wheat bread in it as I went along. Heaven. The rosemary is key. If you're not a rosemary fan, you might give this a pass.

I think I originally got the idea from Ina Garten, but have since adapted it to my quirks. I like it simple, very simple. And I found, too, that the rosemary oil imparts a great deal of flavor that the rosemary twig only hints at. Who needs a rosemary hint? I like to really know it's there.

White bean rosemary soup
Serves 3-4

1 medium onion, diced
3 Tbsp. rosemary oil (grapeseed or olive oil, see below)
3 cups cooked white beans (I've used cannellini, great northern beans and butter beans--all are great.)
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper (I've been using white pepper lately and loving it, but go gentle.)

Saute the onion in heated rosemary oil over medium heat. Stir until translucent, about five minutes. Add the white beans and vegetable stock and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the beans have started to lose some shape. Take a potato masher and mash the soup a few times, taking care to leave some beans whole, for texture. Turn the heat down to low and add the half-and-half, and heat through, adding salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve, with a swirl of rosemary oil on top for color (and flavor!).

Rosemary oil
Take 1 cup of fresh rosemary leaves (off the branch) and wash and dry them thoroughly. Place the leaves in a small saucepan and pour in 1 cup of olive or grapeseed oil and bring to a simmer. Once the oil is simmering, shut it off and let the leaves steep for 15-20 minutes. Pour oil through a strainer into a clean glass jar and store in a cool, dry place. Enjoy!

If you're not up for making rosemary oil, it is usually available in grocery stores, with other specialty oils. Usually flavored grapeseed oil, since it takes on flavors really well. But don't hesitate to try making it either--it's very easy and you'll be drizzling it over everything once you've tried it.

I took a little extra joy in making this soup last week since I had homemade vegetable stock AND homemade rosemary oil on hand. Can't really think when the last time THAT happened! (Never. That's when.)


  1. Don't you love that W done in ribbon? The soup looks yummy too. Will try.

  2. This is a must try for me. I'm all about soup, all about beans, and all about rosemary. Thank you!

  3. Oh, I loved it then and I am craving it now. One of my Plate favorites.

    I am going to make the oil this weekend. Rosemary isn't sunshine, but the aroma does lift my spirits.

    Thanks for sharing, Sher!


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