Tuesday, November 18, 2008

White Bean & Spinach Soup

I have a friend who bought into a CSA (community supported agriculture) this summer and received a huge box of fresh produce, meat, eggs, etc., every week. I thought about following her lead but decided I didn't want to have my weekly menu dictated by somebody else's choice of ingredients. I think I'll join next summer, after an experience I had last weekend.

At our suburban town's recent Saturday 'holiday market,' a few farmers still offered produce. For only $3 I received a full shopping bag of absolutely gorgeous fresh spinach, and learned that fall is actually the best season for this leafy green. After giving half to my friend who had tried the CSA, I started thinking about how to use the rest. This new recipe has spinach as a central ingredient, but with plenty more flavors in the mix:

White Bean & Spinach Soup
Serves 3-4

1/2 pound cooked ground sausage

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cans Great Northern beans

1/4 cup sherry

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon coarse salt

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut in 1/2-inch ribbons

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

honey to taste

Puree 2 cans of white beans in food processor. Saute onion and garlic in oil and a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add bean puree, onion, garlic, sausage, sherry, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add third can of beans, spinach, and 1-2 teaspoons honey, stirring thoroughly. Simmer 15 additional minutes. Adjust salt, pepper, and honey, to taste. Serve with light rye or sourdough bread, and a crisp green salad.

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