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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Part II: Souper duper
Although I think the biscuits in their great buttery deliciousness turned out to be the highlight of the meal for both Shan and I, we actually made them to go along with soup.

The soup in question is a white bean and sage soup that Shan first made for a dinner party* a few years ago that I happened to attend. This particular soup has many virtues: It's hearty, it's flavorful, and it's a snap to make. 30 minutes or less, with a minimum of chopping.

In the past, we've both made this soup with small white beans; this time, on a recommendation from The New Best Recipe, we decided to try it with Progresso's cannellini (white kidney) beans instead. It turned out well, but I think I still prefer the white beans; they make a slightly thicker and definitely creamier soup. We also used fresh sage; I've used ground sage before, but that's risky because it can be overpowering if you use too much. Used in a pinch with care, it's just fine, but fresh sage is definitely the best option.

Although the soup is normally also vegetarian, we decided to add a twist: sausage. We wanted something subtle that would blend in and enhance the flavor instead of standing out because the soup already has plenty of flavor on its own. We opted for a chicken, spinach and fontina cheese sausage that we found at Trader Joe's. It did just what we wanted and added a nice extra kick. The soup doesn't need help, but our experiment proved that since it's so simple, you can easily add a few frills for something a little different. Between it and the beautiful Gruyere biscuits, we ate very, very well.

So, without further adieu:

White bean and sage soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz cans white or navy beans, drained and divided
27 ounces chicken or veggie broth**
1/2 cup short tube pasta (although any small pasta, such as shells or small macaroni, will work)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in saucepan. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add 1 can beans and press into a paste. Add the broth and heat to a boil.

Add pasta, sage and pepper. Boil until pasta is just tender. Add remaining can of beans and simmer 2 minutes.

Voila!

* This recipe is sort of small. It's just right if you're making it for one or two people and want a couple days of leftovers; it reheats well. But if you want to make it for a group of people, double it.
** This soup is pretty thick, and leftovers can turn into the consistency of dip in the fridge, so I recommend adding a little extra broth. I usually buy a 32-ounce box of broth and use it all; you could thin it even more if you like a little more broth in your soup.

posted by Katie at 11:28 PM;



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