Yesterday was a sad day for Cowboys fans, including me. I’m not a huge sports fan, but whenever the Rangers or Cowboys make it into the Playoffs, I’ll watch. I thought that Dallas had a real shot at making it to the Super Bowl this year. The last time they won a Super Bowl was the year after I graduated high school. So, it’s been a couple of years. Okay, so it’s been a couple of decades, not years. Great, I’m not only sad about them losing, I now feel really old. Where, oh where, did the time go?
Although, they couldn’t quite pull off a win, I’m still very proud of our Cowboys. And still upset about the lame call on Dez’s catch. Yes, I still say that WAS a catch.
The sting of yesterday’s loss to the Packers, and the dreary winter weather has me craving a nice big bowl of this comforting Tuscan White Bean Soup.
Great Northern Beans have been a favorite of mine since childhood. Before learning to cook, whenever I would start craving a bowl of them, I just microwaved a can of beans. I’d pile on plenty of black pepper, and that was lunch for me. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as my mom’s, but it was about the best I could do at the time.
We grew up eating lots of pinto and northern beans, so it’s total comfort food to me now. My mom always cooked them from scratch. It was very common to come home from school and find a big soup pot of beans cooking away on the stove.
While I enjoy just a plain ol’ pot of northern beans, I absolutely LOVE this white bean soup even more. Sage is very traditional in Italian white bean dishes, and I like it almost as much as the combination of Rosemary and white beans. Almost. If you aren’t a fan of Sage, Rosemary would work just fine in this soup, too. I add the fresh sage and extra onion to the dried beans, so that they will soak up all that flavor while they are cooking.
*If you want to make a creamy version of the soup, you could remove half of the beans after they are tender, puree them, then add them back to the pot. It’s your call.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
- 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern beans
- water , enough to cover about 1 inch above beans
- 1 medium yellow onion , quartered
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- 4 slices turkey bacon , chopped ( I used Applegate Farms)
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 2 large carrots , diced
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse and drain the beans. Place beans in large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by a couple of inches and let soak for 8-12 hours or overnight.
- Drain beans and rinse again. Place beans into a large soup pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by at least an inch. Add the quartered onion, olive oil and sage leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Towards the end of the cooking time of the beans, you will need to cook the turkey bacon and saute the veggies.
- Preheat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Scoop out the bacon and place onto a paper-towel-lined plate.
- If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan. Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pan, season with a little sea salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies have softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more.
- Add the cooked bacon, onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, bring back up to a simmer, cover and let cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the sage leaves and serve.