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January 16, 2012

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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