First, I would like to say that I just cut up a whole chicken for the first time. I have several observations to make:
1. Joints are a lot easier to find and cut through when a chicken is cooked.
2. The sound of a knife hacking through bone is really, really awful.
3. I think I cut the breasts in half the wrong way.
4. I do not have a future as a butcher.
5. But I did it.
Second, I made a bean soup yesterday that I absolutely am in love with. Ohmygoodness, did I love it.
As for Ryan… Let’s just say, I’ll probably have to just relive this soup in my dreams.
I cannot, however, keep this soup to just my dreams, and so I’m going to share the recipe. It is tres simple — so much so that it doesn’t even look like much. But trust me — the flavor is perfectly round and balanced and delicate and so good!
Tuscan White Bean Soup
from The Best Soups & Stews, by America’s Test Kitchen
6 oz pancetta (Italian unsmoked bacon), chopped into cubes
1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (I used great northern, since that’s all my grocery sold)
1 lg onion unpeeled and halved pole to pole
4 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1. Cook pancetta in a large stockpot over medium heat until just golden, 8 – 10 minutes. Add 12 cups water, beans, halved onion, unpeeled garlic, bay leaf, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pot partially, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are almost tender, 1 – 1 1/4 hours. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes (to let beans completely cook).
2. Drain beans, saving liquid. You should have 5 cups of broth; add water if you have less. Discard onion, garlic, bay leaf, and pancetta. Spread beans on a rimmed sheet to cool.
(Or, alternatively, discard onion and garlic and bay leaf, attempt to discard pancetta but realize it’s too small and who cares anyway, and put soup in the fridge. Continue the process tomorrow.)
3. Saute onion and garlic in stockpot. Add broth, beans, and liberal salt and pepper. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Add rosemary sprig, cover, and let sit, off heat, for 15-20 minutes. Remove sprig and serve.
(Or saute onion and garlic in a skillet, then add to the soup, and jump back into the recipe as written.)
Oh, the rosemary! the garlic! the creamy white beans and beautiful clear broth! Oh, yum!