White Bean Soup w/ Crispy Prosciutto

whitebeansoup (14)

Think of soup like your favorite old sweater. It’s warm & comforting and with different accessories and separates, you can create several different outfits out of your old standby. For the past two years I’ve been obsessed with white beans. I’ve made different variations of this soup with similar flavor profiles. There’s the Tuscan Ribollita that uses white beans, bread, kale & pancetta. There’s my favorite soup ever, Sausage White Bean Soup and most recently my mom’s Pasta Fagioli Soup that also uses sage, pancetta and white beans. Never have I made a soup that purees white beans so they make the base of a soup. This is also the first time I’ve baked prosciutto in the oven and created shards out of them! I liken these little adjustments to putting your sweater over a hot new dress and sealing the deal with a fabulously fancy red scarf.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

When you puree white beans in soup, magic happens. It’s as if you added a cup of silky heavy cream…And those crispy Proscuitto shards? Scrumptious! I think most of them bypassed the soup and went directly into our mouths.

Hello White Bean Soup, you’re like an awesome new outfit in my repertoire.

And we’re off!

Ingredient gathering.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Ingredient chopping.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Saute onions until translucent. Add carrots & celery. Saute. Then add garlic & sage. Add the bay leaf.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Drain & rinse your beans. This is always important. Takes away the sludgy/saltiness of canned beans.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Stock & bean time! Get it boiling and then SIMMER!

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (wait. what ranch?!) we’re crispy prosciutto.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Olive oil on both sides place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. BAKE!

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

The crazy part is that they crisp even MORE when they cool.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Hello stack of crisped prosciutto let’s make you into shards. Like stained glass, but with prosciutto. Weird!

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Stick that immersion blender in your soup. I don’t know what I’d do without my immersion blender!

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Ahh look. A creamy (without the cream!) soup. Finish off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for balance.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Little bits of crisped prosciutto shards on top.

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

Get that spoon…

white bean soup with crisped prosciutto

And get in there! Hearty, crispy, deliciousness!

White Bean Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

makes 8 cups

(recipe from Bi Rite Market’s Eat Good Food Cookbook)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 4 large sage leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto (I used 7 big slices)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more as needed

In a large (8 quart) pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the celery & carrot and continue to cook until they soften slightly, 10 minutes. Add the sage, garlic, and bay leaf and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, until aromatic.

Add the stock and beans and 2 teaspoons of salt and fresh ground pepper. Increase heat to medium high and bring soup to a boil. Then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered until the vegetables are completely soft and have started to break down, 45 to 1 hour.

Meanwhile position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350F.

Brush both sides of the prosciutto with olive oil and place each piece on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until they are slightly darker and wrinkly, 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and they will crisp even more while cooling. Break into shards and set aside.

Finish the soup by removing the bay leaf and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or a food processor/blender in various batches). Stir in the lemon juice and add more if needed. Salt & pepper to taste. To serve, divide soup among bowls and stop with the crisped prosciutto.

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62 Comments

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  • January 16, 2012

    This looks so delicious!
    I would never had of thought of using white beans as a base for soup.
    Bring on winter Down Under!

  • January 16, 2012

    You know how I know we would get along? Because you put sage in everything, and I am so so down with that. Also- I loved my immersion blender so much that it died.

    • January 17, 2012

      High Five, sage fan! Does that mean we give sage advice?

  • January 16, 2012

    Crispy prosciutto is just the most amazing thing ever isn’t it? I love the combo of that and the silky smooth soup here. It looks delicious!

  • January 16, 2012

    I love to add crispy toppings to soups.. Crispy prosciutto is delicious!

  • Jessica
    January 16, 2012

    I love your analogy comparing soup to favourite old sweaters. Brilliant observation, and wonderful photos. Definitely going to make this one at home. Thanks Tracy!

  • January 16, 2012

    Creamy soup with crispy prosciutto? Count me in!

  • Love this soup! I never thought to cook prosciutto in the oven- what a great idea. I am always burning it on the stove top because I try to do 10 things at once and end up forgetting about it. Can’t wait to try this method. Oh, and I know what you mean about the immersion blender. I could not get by without it and use it at least once a day- it is officially my most favorite kitchen tool.

  • January 16, 2012

    oh my word, creamy soup without the cream? yes PLEASE!

  • Ok – I think I’m pretty much going to just have to keep a mad stash of prosciutto in my fridge from here on out. This the second soup recipe you have posted that looks like I need to keep it in our rotation of “regular” meals. I made the pasta fagioli and it was AWESOME! If this has a similar flavor profile, it will win in our family too. Thanks!!

  • January 16, 2012

    I L-O-V-E white beans! I haven’t pureed them for soup yet, but I think I will soon! Also, proscuitto stained glass shards–so chic.

  • January 16, 2012

    yes. This looks all sorts of amazing. It’s been snowing (belch) for 3 days here so we’re in full on soup weather.

    Making this ASAP.

  • January 16, 2012

    Tracy, that looks so very good!

  • MaryBeth
    January 16, 2012

    Oh! This is the perfect soup for today, it’s -25 degree’s here! Brrr!

    On the weekend I made a really yummy pasta dish using prosciutto, garlic, fresh basil and ricotta cheese, swoon! Lucky for me I have some left over prosciutto and beans in the pantry so I can make this without having to brave the cold!

  • January 16, 2012

    I am on a soup making kick right now and can’t wait to try this!! I made the Sausage Spinach and White Bean soup awhile ago and looooooved it!! I wrote a blog post about it as well because it was so good!! Thanks for the constant inspiration to get in my kitchen and create!!

    • January 17, 2012

      Aww. Thank you Leah for your words! So glad that soup is a fave of yours!

      • January 18, 2012

        Thank you for all you do :)!

  • jenny
    January 16, 2012

    yummy! I love anything with white beans. have you ever made white bean hummus? also amazing. this is going in the soup repertoire for sure!

  • January 16, 2012

    I’m on a crazy soup kick this month and this sounds super good! Creamy bean soup with crispy proscuitto…mmmm…I’m hooked. BTW, Happy New Year!

    • January 17, 2012

      Happy New Year, friend!!!!!! xoxoxo

  • January 16, 2012

    It is snowing in Salt Lake today. I need this soup!

  • January 16, 2012

    I love that in the picture at the top the prosciutto looks like a map of the United Kingdom! :)

    • January 17, 2012

      Haha! It totally does.

  • January 16, 2012

    YUM. I want to eat this for every meal for my whole life. It looks amazing! I really need an immersion blender… I was blending soup yesterday and it might’ve exploded on me. Amateur hour for realz.

    • January 17, 2012

      Get yourself one. 2012 will THANK YOU!

  • January 16, 2012

    Perfect timing on this recipe! I have cans of white beans which have been looking very sad in the pantry for quite some time. I was determined to use them up this week. Now I need not look further for inspiration! Soup it is.

  • January 16, 2012

    Please don’t wake me from this beautiful cream!
    Not sure about the sage though….may need some reassurance there???

    • January 17, 2012

      Sage isn’t super potent. It just helps round out the flavor! don’t be scared.

  • Jennifer
    January 16, 2012

    It’s a snow day today so I’m totally going to make this! We are vegetarian, so I’m thinking crutons and parmesan cheese for topping. Can’t wait!

    • January 17, 2012

      Sounds like a perfect sub!

  • January 16, 2012

    This soup looks creamy and comforting and would go perfectly with the kale salad I just whipped up. I love a warm soup paired with a crisp salad. They compliment each other so well.

  • January 16, 2012

    Yum! I think this post opened up a whole new world to me…one that includes crispy prosciutto.

    • January 17, 2012

      a world with crispy prosciutto is a wonderful world, indeed!

  • January 16, 2012

    this has just gone to the top of my list. holy cow.

  • January 16, 2012

    I’ve done a similar soup with broccoli and a little cheddar cheese. I am always amazed how delicious white beans make everything. White bean & roasted red pepper dip is my fav appetizer! Ok, one of the many. But nevermind all that. CRISPY PROSCIUTTO! I need that all up in my face right now. Love the combo, can’t wait to try it.

  • January 16, 2012

    I love love love my blender stick!! Too bad I don’t eat meat or else I would totes do this. If I wanted to make this vegetarian, would I just not add the prosciutto? What should I substitute for it if I need to?

    • Megan
      January 20, 2012

      Swap out the stocks (veg for chicken) and just skip the prosciutto all together. It adds a nice textural thing (and flavor for those of us omnivores) that might be well served by another oven crisped item, though I don’t think it’s entirely necessary. Maybe mandolin some sweet or regular potatoes and oven roast until crispy with a bit of olive oil, salt and rosemary.

  • January 17, 2012

    I love white beans. I also generally dislike brothy soups, so this one with the beans all pureed and lovely would be ideal for me!

  • Amanda
    January 17, 2012

    Can I just say, I love reading your words?! This recipe looks terrific! I make an awesome white bean dip and have always thought that it would make a great soup… and you had me at Prosciutto shards.

  • January 17, 2012

    You won me over with your pasta e fagioli… now I have another exciting soup to try! Thanks for all your beautiful recipes :)

  • January 19, 2012

    This soup looks lovely. I’m also a huge white bean fan. Did you know that if you mash them up they make a great substitute for mayo in a tuna or chicken salad sandwich? It’s the truth. And if I’m remembering correctly, you’re not a fan of the mayo. So this could be a super awesome innovation for you. If you haven’t already figured out. :-)

  • January 21, 2012

    I love this kind of sweaters. Warm, comforting. And tasty ;-)

  • Susan
    January 23, 2012

    Made this for my husband and son while they were watching football yesterday. I had one bowl, it was delicious. They ate the rest all up! I was hoping there would be a little left for my lunch today, but no. It’s a good sign when the 23 year old comes back for seconds and thirds! Passed the link onto a few friends, including a vegetarian since I think a little vegetable broth instead (and no prosciutto) would make this an excellent vegetarian soup.

    • January 23, 2012

      Really good sign! You could totally fry up some sage leaves to make some crispy action in that soup! It would please the vegetarians, no doubt!

  • September 12, 2013

    I love making this kind of soup. Even prepping the mise en place is satisfying.

    I bought a boneless prosciutto end fairly cheaply and will slice off a few sheets to use for a garnish. The rest … maybe I’ll use it in place of pancetta the next time I do brussel sprouts like this.

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/138547.html

  • Teresa
    October 14, 2013

    This is one of my go-to soups; I love it! Though I like the prosciutto on top, I don’t always have it on hand and/or it doesn’t work in leftovers very well so I add truffle salt to the soup right before eating. Adds a different flavor but OH SO GOOD!

  • Ashley
    December 4, 2014

    Tracy, this soup is delicious! It will definitely be in the menu rotation this winter. Just wanted you to know that a lot of my families favorite recipes are from your site (Carrot Coconut Soup, Orange Walnut Cake, Curried Coconut Chicken, etc). So thanks for doing what you do on here :)

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