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White Bean Soup with Mushrooms
This delightfully creamy soup is out of this world. It tastes like you’ve worked all afternoon on it. But you don’t have to and no one will know how easy it really is. The smokey flavor of the chili marries beautifully with the earthy mushrooms and creamy base. Its smooth, silky texture is heaven in a bowl and you really need to try it!
A basic purée of white beans, the sautéed wild mushrooms and dollop of mascarpone cheese, take it to the next level. The secret to getting the luxurious texture is to purée the beans and vegetables with just a small amount of the cooking liquid to start with, and then slowly pour in more liquid until you get a smooth, creamy consistency.
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- ½ cup plus 2 T light olive oil
- 1 small sprig rosemary ground
- 1 ancho chili (or other small hot dried chile such as chile d’ arbol) remove stem and crumble
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves , divided
- 2 (19 ounce) cans Cento cannelloni beans. (White kidney beans. Do not substitute Navy Beans) Drain, reserving 2 cups
- 1 cup bean juice (this is the reserved cannelloni bean juice)
- ½ pound mushrooms (can use fresh, or dried if fresh not available, such as shiitake oyster or chantrelles
- 2 quarts water
- 2 teaspoons salt
Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until they release their aroma and are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Grind the fennel seeds coarsely in a spice grinder.
To a 6 to 8 quart heavy bottom pot add ½ C olive oil
Heat over heat for 2 minutes
Add the rosemary leaves and ancho chili. Let them sizzle in the oil for about 1 minute. Add the onion, fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon thyme and cook until the onion is softened about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the beans to the pot and cook a few more minutes, stirring to coat them well in the oil. Add 2 quarts of water and 1 cup of the reserved bean juice. Bring to boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and place a circle of parchment over the beans to keep them underwater. Simmer, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, add 1 ½ teaspoons salt to the beans, and continue cooking at a low simmer until the beans are tender 1 to 1 ½ hours.
While the soup is cooking, stir together the mascarpone, minced shallots, and chives in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Separate the bean mixture from the liquid by straining the soup over a bowl. Put half the bean mixture into a blender with ½ cup of the liquid (you will need to puree the soup in several batches.)
Process on the lowest speed until the mixture is pureed. With the blender running at medium speed, slowly pour in more of the liquid, until the soup is the consistency of heavy cream. Turn the speed up to high, and blend until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside, and repeat with the second batch. (Save any extra liquid for thinning the soup later, if necessary.)
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep in soup warm in pot on the stove.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over high heat for 1 minute.
Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts, scatter the mushrooms into the pan. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, browned and a little crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and remove from heat,
Ladle a cup of hot soup into a warm bowl. Scatter warm mushrooms over the top and add a dollop of mascarpone.
Adopted from Fine Cooking magazine