Tuscan White Bean Soup

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Many years ago we arrived in Tuscany at the dead of night to our rented farmhouse, which was nestled on its own down a very long track. We were tired and hungry and when we stumbled in we found a note scribbled on a piece of paper alluding to some supper on the stove. Wandering over to the hob we found a white bean soup waiting for us. It was hearty and warming with garlic and tomato undertones. I suppose it wasn’t dissimilar to a grown-ups version of baked beans.

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It was exactly the kind of comfort food we craved after a day of travelling. I never managed to get the exact recipe but have tried to replicate it as best I could ever since. I think this version works pretty well. I tend to always opt for white beans in a glass jar – this variety works for me and I pick it up at a local middle eastern grocers near me. Sometimes I add rosemary and other times not.

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Bay leaves though are essential and add a lovely flavour to the soup. I also prefer to use fresh tomatoes, but if you are out, tinned will suffice. The trick is to put it on a low heat for 30-40 minutes if you can. You want the garlic to be completely soft and the liquid to have reduced a fair amount.

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With all the excess that December will bring I thought this soup was a good one to throw into the mix.

Tuscan White Bean Soup 

serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil

9 whole garlic cloves, peeled

2 bay leaves

650g fresh tomatoes, diced

2x400g jar of white beans

1 tsp tomato puree (optional)

300ml vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic cloves. Move around the pan for 30 seconds before adding the bay leaves and then add the fresh tomatoes.
  2. Allow the tomatoes to soften for a few minutes before adding the white beans.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper and leave on a low flame with the lid on, stirring from time to time.
  4. Remove the lid half way through cooking to allow the liquid to thicken. You can add more liquid if you prefer it more soupy. I tend to like mine thickish but still of soup consistency.
  5. When the garlic’s are soft and the liquid has been absorbed a little, turn off the heat and allow to rest.

This is great eaten the following day as well when the flavours have relaxed into one another.

4 thoughts on “Tuscan White Bean Soup

  1. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious, Torie. I’ve stayed in some nice houses in my travels but never have I had a soup waiting for me. What a lovely touch. He/she will have no idea how much that meant to you but it’s so nice for you to share the story. We are having a beany creation tomorrow, but more of a stew I guess, with vegan sausages thrown in. PS I totally agree about the beans in jars. I buy then at Lidl when they have “Spanish” week!

    • Lidl is coming up trumps (nothing to do with Donald!) at the moment. A pal found a soft cheese with porcini mushrooms and truffle yesterday. How great does that sound. BTW Kellie I am loving your snow feature on your blog. It is straightforward to sort out? Do tell – it’s a nice touch. x

    • Good stuff. Let me know how you get on. If you ever come across the white beans in those long glass jars do try them as they are really good – much better than the tinned and as good as the ones you soak. best Torie

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