Quick Bean Soup

While reading some notes by Jacques Pepin, I saw that he likes to keep cannelloni beans and chorizo on hand for a quick soup. All that he says in his note is that he puréed the beans and added the chorizo with some chicken broth and cream. So with that as a springboard I made a mirepoix (the French holy trinity of diced onion/carrot/celery) and added some garlic (because if I grab an onion I’m grabbing a couple cloves of garlic). I didn’t have chorizo but had some ham to cube so fried some ham in a little oil (this time infused with mushroom and sage but not sure how much that added to taste). Took the ham out to cube and sautéed my vegetables in the residue. I threw in some thyme, a slight pinch of cayenne, and salt/pepper. Added broth and brought it to a boil with the sauté, the ham, and some drained cannelloni beans. I only puréed half the beans because I like some texture. Took off heat and added some whole milk. It was a simple but delightful soup. Served with some cornbread. Pretty quick and easy. I’m keeping some cannelloni on the shelf now too.

Ingredients:

4 16oz cans of cannelini beans
3 carrots (sliced and cubed)
3 celery stalks (sliced and cubed)
2 onions (sliced and cubed)
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 lb ham (sliced and cubed)
2 tbs olive oil for ham and for mire poix
1 cup whole milk
or
1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup half and half
32 oz chicken stock
1 tsp minced thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 fresh chives chopped for garnish

Add chicken stock and cannelini beans to a large covered pan over medium heat.
In a large skillet, add olive oil and cubed ham over medium-high heat. Stirring gently. Saute the ham until it just starts to brown. Remove ham and add it to the beans and stock in the large pan.
Add mire poix (carrots, celery, and onion) and garlic to leftover oil from ham. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and the onion begins to sweat.
Add cooked mire poix to ham, bean and chicken stock. Add the thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Remove half of the soup mix and place in a large stainless or glass bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend the contents to a smooth soup. Return to the beans in the large pan. Stir gently.
In a small sauce pan, or the skillet you browned ham and vegetables in, add the milk or cream. Heat slowly to just a simmer. Add that to the main pot of beans. Stir gently. Allow beans to cook for 15 minutes.
Like all soups, this soup will be better after refrigeration, but is equally good fresh. Serve in a bowl topped with chives, with cornbread and a smile.

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