White Bean Soup with Rosemary

 

I don’t know how most families solve the problem of the dreaded HOUSEHOLD CHORES. With two people working 40 hours a week, we try to divide things up fairly equally. I’m not going to lie – we succeed at this only sometimes, and it’s always an ongoing challenge. On those busy weekdays, usually one person cooks, and the other has to clean up. I never cook on Mondays or Wednesdays, because I get home late from work on those days. The only day when I am reliably home first is Friday, so Friday is usually when I make new recipes or more involved things that take longer. I also don’t generally cook with meat, so Fridays are often vegetarian at our house.Last Thursday night I set out some white beans to soak overnight. I had a handful of small, spotted white beans (pinto of some sort??)leftover from last year’s garden, and I supplemented those with plain old Great Northern white beans. When I got home from work on Friday afternoon, I decided to make soup with them. I love soup. When in doubt, you can almost always make soup with whatever you have on hand. I decided to make White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan. The recipe is adapted from the Williams Sonoma Cooking at Home Cookbook. By the way, if you ever run across this cookbook, I HIGHLY recommend it. I found my copy at Half Price Books – only $9! Anyway, that cookbook rarely fails me.

To be honest, this was an experiment. I didn’t know if we would love bean soup. I like beans, but they do need a lot of flavoring to make them palatable (in my opinion). I especially wasn’t sure how my husband would feel about this soup. We don’t tend to have the same taste in soups, and I think he likes meat in things a lot more than I do. But we both LOVE rosemary, so it seemed a good starting point.

So, long story short. We both LOVED this soup. Seriously, we couldn’t get enough of it. It’s a hearty soup, too, so it’s a meal in itself. If you do want something else, a small salad or sandwich would be great. One night we made one habanero grilled cheese sandwich and split it between us with a cup of the soup, and the other nights we each had a larger bowl with a simple side salad. The flavors in this soup are not complex, but the longer cooking time really infused the flavors throughout and gave it a very satisfying taste. It has become one of our new favorites – a really great comfort food. My husband even wanted me to make more of it so we could store some in the freezer. I didn’t think that was necessary, because there’s nothing seasonal in the soup – all ingredients are basically available all the time, so you can make it any time you want to. But his point was that he would like to have it on hand for a quick option, if you don’t want to spend an hour or more cooking. HA, your classic miscommunication! After we each explained ourselves, we each saw the merits of the other’s argument. And I did agree that if he really liked the soup that much, it would be good to have some on hand in the freezer for quick dinners.

Another great thing about this soup is how economical it is. Our co-op sells both carrots and celery stalks individually (if you want), so that’s an inexpensive option for this soup that only requires a few of those. Dried beans are dirt cheap, and if you have herbs on hand your only real expense is the parmesan cheese. I don’t have herbs in the winter, so I have to buy them, too. Next winter I hope I can fashion some sort of indoor herb garden, so I can have access to at least some herbs all year long. I had a lovely rosemary plant that my mother-in-law gave me, but my dog peed on it, and after that I never wanted to use it for cooking again, dog urine being a culinary delicacy that I don’t care to become accustomed to. I want a new one terribly…

But I digress…

Try to soup – it’s a winner. Or don’t. But you’ll be missing out 🙂