White Bean and Escarole Soup

White Bean and Escarole Soup

Ingredients

  • 2-3 thick slices pancetta (roughly ¼ inch thick)
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 3 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 head of escarole, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan rind (optional)

Method

  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat add a few tablespoons of olive oil, pancetta, onions, sage, rosemary and red pepper flakes.  After 2-3 minutes, add the garlic.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring the ingredients and turning the pancetta occasionally.  Remove the rosemary and sage.
  2. Add the drained beans, chicken stock , cheese rind (not necessary) pepper and a pinch of salt (keep in mind the pancetta is salty), bring to a boil.  This is usually the first time I need to skim the soup to discard some of the fat that surfaces on the top, so go ahead and skim.  Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes.  Skim again if need be.
  3. With a large slotted spoon remove the pancetta, onions, garlic and ¾ of the beans, reserving in a bowl or tray.  Pull out the pancetta and set aside.  Remove some of the larger pieces of onions and discard.  Put all remaining onions, garlic and reserved beans in a food processor, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one ladle full of broth from the soup pot and salt & pepper.  Puree.  Add pureed bean mixture back to the pot and stir to combine.  Continue to simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, chop up all the pancetta into a small dice and add them to the pot of soup.  Add chopped escarole  and allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until wilted.
  5. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy alone or with a chunky piece of toasted bread.

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