Saturday, March 31, 2007

But This Doesn't Taste Vegan!: White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

This is the Best. Soup. Ever.

Hands down.

It's no secret that I heart garlic soups. I've been known to chose restaurants solely on the fact that they have garlic soup.

I had been meaning to try this soup. I've had the ingredients for weeks now, but after the disastrous potato-asparagus soup of last weekend I was eager to make something edible.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup from "Vegan With a Vengeance" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Serves 4


2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion,, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
A few dashed fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups of vegetable broth, or 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 cups of water
3 cups cooked great northern white beans, drained (or canned beans drained and rinsed)
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
2 heads garlic, roasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel off as much of the papery skin as you can and put the garlic in the oven for about 30 minutes. Removed from oven and, when cool, squeeze the garlic out or peal the skin away from each clove.
2. While garlic is roasting, saute the onions in olive oil for 5-7 minutes in a stockpot over medium heat (I accidentally used high heat and burned some onions)
2. Add the salt, pepper, and fennel seeds; saute for one minute. Add the broth, beans, sage, and bay leaf, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaf
4. Add the roasted garlic and puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
5. Return to the pot and add lemon juice. Serve garnished with fennel leaves if you have some, and /or some peeled carrot and/or parsley.

A few things:
1. I couldn't find canned great white northern beans for the life in me. Since I am too lazy to soak beans, I substituted Goya small white beans. I don't know what the difference is.
2. I didn't have fennel seeds, or fennel leaves for that matter. I did have some leftover fennel powder from a previous recipe, so I used a 1/2 teaspoon of that. I figured since I have to blend everything, it shouldn't make a difference. Right?
3. To make your life easier invest in a valdalia onion chopper and an immersion blender. You'll have to halve or quarter the onion to get it to dice, but it's worth it. And with the immersion blender you don't have to worry about spilling the soup when pouring it into a blender.
4. When squeezing the lemon to make juice, it's probably not a good idea to do so over the soup because lemon seeds may accidentally fall into it and create an unpleasant surprise later.
5. I only used about a head of garlic. I thought two heads was a little much. A head of garlic is the bulb, right?
5. Make a double batch. It's that good.

Finally, since it's Spring - toss out your old spices. Pretty much everything loses it's potentcy after 6-12 months with the exception of cinnamon. That lasts a little bit longer.

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