Garlicky White Bean and Spinach Soup
Source: Sarah Henkin, CUESA’s Market Chef
This recipe was prepared for the Food Wise Booth on November 29, 2011.
½ pound white beans, such as butter beans
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
10 cloves garlic, divided and crushed
1 scant tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
2 leeks, washed and sliced into thin half moons
1 carrot, peeled and sliced the same size as the leeks
Spinach, washed, steamed, and squeezed dry
1. Cover the beans with water by a couple inches and soak overnight. Drain and add to a heavy-bottom pot with the onion, half of the garlic, the peppercorns, and the bay leaves. Cover with water and bring just to a boil. Skim off any scum that floats to the top and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook the beans until tender, adding salt at the end of the cooking process. Remove the onion and bay leaves and set beans aside in a bowl, keeping them covered with their cooking liquid.
2. Wipe the pot out and set over medium-low flame. Add a good glug of olive oil, the remaining garlic cloves, and a pinch of chile flakes. Cook gently until the garlic is a deep golden brown (be careful not to burn it). Remove the garlic and add the leeks and carrot and cook until tender. Add the beans with some of their liquid and cook until beans are reheated. Add the spinach to the pot, stir to combine, and taste for salt. Puree the soup in batches until smooth, adding more bean cooking liquid to thin out as necessary, then reheat. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with lemon zest, chile flakes, and olive oil. Serve.