[12] Escarole, White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Cover of Cooking for Two: 120 Recipes for Every Day and Those Special Nights by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Right now, you’re probably saying “wait, didn’t they already make this once? 13 entries and they can’t keep from repeating?” Well, WE CAN’T HEAR YOU, YOUR MICROPHONE ISN’T ON.

I mean, ah… Not exactly. This is a recipe out of a different book. Last time we used spinach instead of escarole, and this one has roasted garlic in it! What isn’t better with roasted garlic1?

Natasha made this dinner, but I’m typing it up for her.

h2. Ingredients

3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 T olive oil

2 oz pancetta, finely chopped

1 sm onion, finely chopped

1 small head escarole (~12 oz), cored, shredded and washed, but not dried

14.5 oz can of chicken stock (we used home-made!)

1/4 t rubbed sage (we used whole, kind of chopped up. Don’t follow our lead on this part)

15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern beans tonight)

1/4 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (we use Manchego because Natasha doesn’t like parm.)

1/4 t salt (“or to taste”. Don’t you hate that in a recipe you haven’t made before?)

1/4 pepper

h2. Directions

# Preheat the oven to 400°F. Loosely wrap the garlic cloves in a bit of aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until very soft and delicious smelling. Open the packet and set aside to cool. This is a great place to use your toaster oven!
# Heat a large saucepan (recipe called for medium, make sure all that escarole will fit in whatever you use) over medium heat. Swirl in the oil, add the pancetta and saute for 2 minutes, until just browned and frizzled [2] at the edges, stirring frequently. Toss in the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until pale but very fragrant, stirring often.

# Add the escarole and cook until the greens just start to wilt (about 1 minute), tossing occasionally with tongs. Stir in the stock and sage, then raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reserve 1/4 of the beans in a small bowl; stir the remainder into the soup. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

# Meanwhile, squeeze the garlic pulp from its papery hulls into the bowl with the reserved beans. Discard the hulls. Mash the pulp and beans with a fork until smooth. [3]

# After the soup has cooked for 20 minutes, stir a small amount of the soup broth (say, 1/4 c) into the bean-garlic puree to dissolve it, then stir this mixture back into the soup. Add the grated cheese, stir until the cheese melts, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

h2. Notes

h3. Consumption

We both liked this, but thought the other one was better. The spinach had a better texture than the escarole, and the broth in this one was lacking something. Still worth eating.

h3. Footnotes

[1] Peanut butter, probably.
2 “Frizzled” was the author’s term, not mine.

3 You could use a food processor to do this instead. Feh.