Simple White Bean Soup
This is a great weeknight soup — it’s got a decently long-cooked flavor in a short time, it’s easily made vegetarian, it’s surprisingly filling, and it doesn’t taste of canned beans (which it uses). Also it made my roommate not hate bay leaves (I sneak them into everything now) and is excellent to dip bread into.
Simple White Bean Soup, adapted from Heather the Commenter at Shapely Prose
1/4 lb. pancetta, cubed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, grated
1 bay leaf
2 14.5-oz. cans white/cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 c. vegetable broth
juice of half a lemon
salt & pepper to taste
Crisp and render the pancetta over medium heat in a large saucepan or small soup pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set it on a paper towel to drain. Add the olive oil to the pot and, once it’s warm, toss in the garlic and bay leaf. Stir until the garlic is beginning to brown, and then add the beans and oregano. Stir to distribute the oregano and garlic and coat the beans in oil. Once the beans are coated, add the veggie broth and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it go for twenty minutes, or however long it needs to while you make bread or do other stuff.
Once it’s simmered, take an immersion blender to it! Smoother is better. You could probably also blend it in a regular blender in batches, or use a potato masher, but in the Cleverly Named Food Blog household we prefer the stick blender to the chunkier masher texture. Add the lemon juice and return to low heat. Taste for salt and pepper.
Once it’s seasoned to your liking, pour into bowls or giant mugs and top with the reserved pancetta. Serves two as a meal.