In case you have been following along, I feel like I should update you on the house situation after the last post. Let me just put it this way: the house-hunting saga will continue. The seller decided not to sell his house mid-negotiation. "Unusual," you may think, yet that is the second time that has happened to us. One of these days I will write an entire post and fill you in on our house hunt from beginning to (hopefully) end.
Anyway, on to more exciting and enjoyable things, like hot soup on a cold day. This soup is hearty, although it could even be served to a vegan friend. It is super flavorful thanks to the abundance of rosemary and garlic. And it is just about the only soup I can think of that has a satisfying crunch, thanks to the crouton topping.
My dad made it for James and I some time last month when we were over there for a visit, and I was excited to get the recipe and share it with you. When he emailed it to me, I was surprised at how few ingredients it included. It begins by infusing some olive oil with garlic (very easy, and a good thing to know how to do), and the rest is very simple. I pureed a cup and a half to make it stew-like, but you could leave it more like a soup, or puree more to create a thicker consistency. Any way you make it, it is sure to fill you up and warm you up in the cold, rainy weather.
Tuscan White Bean Stew
adapted from my dad's recipe which was adapted from the Mayo Clinic Cookbook
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, quartered
3 cloves garlic, chopped
about 4 cups artisan bread, cut into cubes
1 can white beans, undrained
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups broth
Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the 3 quartered garlic cloves and let cook a couple minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and let the oil and garlic stand about 10 minutes. Discard the garlic, and return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring often, until light brown and crispy. Set aside.
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots, stirring until onions begin to brown and carrots begin to tenderize, about 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper and cook a couple minutes. Then add the can of beans and the broth. Bring to a boil, then let simmer at least 10 minutes.
Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot and stir well. Garnish each bowl of soup with croutons and a rosemary sprig if desired. Enjoy.