WHAT’S EASY TO MAKE, elegant to serve, and heaven to eat? My Navy Bean and Rosemary soup. I served this perfumed puree at a dinner party last night, and you should have heard the raves. Everybody loved it. Here’s the menu from the party, and the recipe for the soup:
1. Appetizers – Assorted cheeses; sliced baguette; smoked oysters
2. Navy Bean & Rosemary Soup
3. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
4. Arugula with Vinaigrette
5. Homemade Greek-style Yogurt with Raspberries
Navy Bean & Rosemary Soup
Ingredients for 6 servings as a main course; 12 servings as a first-course
1 lb navy beans
1/4 cup olive
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary (about 9 inches in length)
1 Turkish Bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp kosher salt
Grinds of black pepper
Preliminary soaking of beans – Soak the beans over night in a big bowl of water. Or, if you are in a hurry, do what I do: Pour the beans into a sauce pot, and add enough water just to cover them by one inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat, cover the pot, and let the beans soak for one hour. Drain.
1. In a 4-quart or larger soup pot set over low heat, saute the onions in olive oil until they become translucent — 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes.
2. Add the pre-soaked navy beans, the rosemary, the chicken stock, the bay leaf, the salt and about 5 grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, and let simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the beans are very soft.
3. Remove the bay leaf and the bare rosemary stem (all the leaves will fall off during cooking).
5. Coarsely puree the soup in a food processor outfitted with the metal blade.
6. Taste carefully for seasoning. If you are going to serve the soup right away, return it to the pot for reheating. Otherwise, pour the soup into a big bowl and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
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