White Bean Winter Soup

White Bean Soup

In the winter months, I live for a hearty soup with good crusty bread. I find this type of soup incredibly satisfying and comforting. You really feel warm all the way through to your bones! The trick is very good chicken stock. It also helps to have quality beans. I tend to think because it’s very simple, every ingredient really matters. Double the recipe and freeze some for later! The soup is always better the next day so feel free to make it ahead of time.

White Beans Winter Soup

1 quart of cooked white beans, cannellini or gigante

1 quart homemade chicken stock, or buy from your local butcher

2 tb olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped (optional)

1 large zucchini and/or 1 large carrot, diced ¼” thick (optional)

1 small bunch of collard greens, chard or escarole, de-stemmed and chopped 1” pieces

1 dried red Calabrian chili

Salt and Pepper

Parmigiano Reggiano

If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of water.

Bring a stockpot or heavy dutch oven to medium heat, add the olive oil, and sweat the chopped garlic. If you love onions, add a chopped yellow onion at this point. Saute for a few minutes until the garlic is cooked and the onion is softened. Add your washed and sliced collard greens. Stir a minute or two and then add ½ cup of chicken stock. Cover for 2-3 minutes until the greens are steamed. Add the zucchini and/or carrots and continue to stir all together. By this point your chicken stock should be mostly gone and your vegetables should be softer but not cooked through. Add the white beans and cover by 2” with liquid, adding the remaining 3 ½ cups of stock. Add water if you need to as well. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the chili and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Taste your soup, and add salt and pepper to taste. Are the beans soft? If not, continue to cook with the lid on until they are cooked through. Leave it covered until ready to serve.

In the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and grated parmesan. Serve with good crusty bread! Maybe a glass of red wine. Some gooey, stinky cheese.  Eat on the floor around the coffee table or by a fireplace. OK, you get it.

Salmon Chowder

The farmer’s market is always a source of inspiration to me. I love meeting people and being inspired by what’s fresh. So when I discovered Sena Sea at my local farmer’s market, I immediately stocked up with Alaskan Copper River salmon and cod. Rather than going to a grocery store or fishmonger, I buy directly from the fisherman. The quality of the fish? Perfect!

I was excited to use up some of the other ingredients I had gathered at the market. So with the weather cooling down, a chowder seemed like a nice meal. This is my first attempt at preparing a seafood chowder and it turned out beautifully. I hope you’ll enjoy it in your home! Please feel free to use any variety of good local fish in your part of the world.


Salmon Chowder

Makes 4 servings

10-12 small creamer potatoes, cut into halves or quarters

1 small leek, cleaned and sliced ¼” thick

1 cup of organic heavy cream

2 quarts fish stock, preferably homemade

2 cloves young garlic, finely minced

Handful of parsley, dill, or chervil, roughly chopped (optional)

1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc

2 Tb butter, unsalted

1 lb. small salmon collars, fresh cubed fillets, or chum

In a 5 quart stockpot or dutch oven, heat the butter and sweat the leeks, garlic, and potatoes until softened. This will takes 3-4 minutes. Then pour in the cup of white wine and reduce by half over medium heat. Add the fish stock and bring your soup to a rolling boil. Quickly turn the heat down to a simmer, add your fish, and cover with a lid for 5-7 minutes until the fish is nicely cooked. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer without the lid until the soup is thickened and your potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. At this point, season the chowder and adjust to your preference. You could add some heat with dashes of tabasco at this point.

Pour into bowls and top with a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs. Serve hot with a side of good grilled bread. Bon appetit!