Sicilian White Bean Soup

Hearty, buttery, and bursting with bright flavors, this Sicilian White Bean soup might be the best I’ve ever made. Depending on your mood you can serve it puréed or as a stew, either way it’s downright delicious. The sour lemons, salty green olives and sweet golden raisins stimulate all five tastes, bitter, sweet, sour, salty...and that fifth umami taste comes from the dried beans by slowly coaxing the flavor out of them with a slow boil. 

INGREDIENTS 

serves 4

  • 3 c dried white beans soaked in water overnight

  • *you can substitute canned white beans but the dried taste best 

  • 1 lg white onion, chopped

  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped

  • 1 shallot, sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter 

  • 1/4 c chopped green olives

  • 1/4 c golden raisins

  • optional: 1/2 bunch green chard if making stew instead of puréed soup. 

  • 2-4 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme

  • 32 oz chicken stock

  • pinch of red chili flakes

  • flaky & fine sea salt, fresh cracked pepper

METHOD

If using dried beans, soak overnight in water. Next morning, using a large pot with water, and 1-2 tsp of fine sea salt, simmer the beans for one hour, they should be al dente. Set the beans aside in a bowl. 

In the same large pot, melt the ghee and sweat the onions, garlic and shallots with a pinch of fine sea salt. Once translucent, add the chili flakes to taste, and the whole stems of oregano/thyme. Next, add your celery, stir and let sit for 2 minutes, then add your beans. If you are using canned beans, add a pinch more salt. Stir a few times to let the flavors meld together before adding the chicken stock. Bring to a boil for 3-5mins, then turn off heat and allow it to rest.

While the soup is boiling, slice up 1 lemon into wheels, and place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Broil on high for 5-7 mins, until charred. Roughly chop the green olives and golden raisins to make a chutney, place in a small bowl with a splash of olive oil and pinch of flaky sea salt and set aside. 

This soup can be pureed or served as a stew. If you are pureeing, pour the soup into the blender and blend until silky smooth. If you are serving as a stew, add the greens to the pot and cover to wilt them (no need to boil).

Juice the other lemon, and squeeze over the soup and stir. Serve the soup warm and garnish with charred lemon slices and the green olive and golden raisin chutney.