Pumpkin and White Bean Soup with Fresh Sage
Soup, Dinner, Lunch
1 1lb. dried small white beans (navy beans), soaked overnight in water
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 cans pumpkin, (16 oz. each)
1 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnishes: chopped fresh sage and parsley and scallions, shaved parmesan cheese
STEP 1:Drain the beans and put them in a large pot. Cover them with an inch or two of fresh water and bring them to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, lower the flame and simmer the beans until they are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the salt to the beans and set them aside.
STEP 2:Next, heat the olive oil and butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and stir and cook until it is translucent, softened and just beginning to brown. Add the celery and the dried herbs to the onions and stir and cook a few minutes longer or until celery begins to soften. Add the garlic to the vegetables and cook another minute or two. Add 3 cups of stock to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes or until celery is completely softened.
STEP 3:Use a blender to completely puree the onion mixture and then return it to the soup pot. Add the pumpkin and remaining stock, stirring to mix completely. Strain the beans and reserve their liquid. Add the beans to the soup along with any bean cooking liquid to achieve desired soup consistency. This soup can be thick and hearty or thinner and more brothy, depending on how much, if any, bean liquid is added. Turn flame to medium and fully heat soup, stirring occasionally. Add fresh sage, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. When soup is fully heated ladle into serving bowls then sprinkle chopped sage, parsley and scallions over the top of each bowl of soup. Place a few shavings of Parmesan cheese on each bowl of soup and serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 entrée sized servings or 10-12 first courses.