TUSCAN BEAN SOUP
1 pound dried marrow beans, or other plump white bean
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 lb. ham and ham bones
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak beans in water overnight. Drain the beans.
2. Heat olive oil in large pot, sauté vegetables and herbs over medium
low heat until they begin to brown.
3. Add beans and ham to the pot with vegetables. Cover with water and
simmer gently until beans are very tender, about two hours, adding more water if needed.
Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle.
4. Remove ham and bones from the pot and discard bones. Cut the ham into
very small pieces and set aside.
5. Puree in blender, about half of the beans and vegetables. Return
puree to the pot. Return ham pieces to the pot and stir well. Adjust seasonings.
Garnish with toasted garlic bread croutons and grated parmesan cheese.
It can sometimes be difficult to obtain specialty beans like the marrow
beans asked for in this recipe. Great Northerns or other large white beans actually would
be a fine substitute. But it always makes me feel like I'm cooking up something special
when I use special beans. If you can't find them at your store, here is one of my favorite
sources, a great place to find dried beans, grains, flours, herbs and spices:
Phipps Country (Pescadero,
CA) -- (650) 879-0787