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Author Notes: This soup is the result of a botched batch of beans. (I may be the only person on Earth who messes up bean-making every time.) The soup is warming, filling, and perfect for winter. If you hold the ham, and use vegetable stock in lieu of chicken stock, it's vegan, too. —Cristina Sciarra
Serves 2, generously
- 13 ounces dried white beans (I used Great Northern)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 medium leeks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chicken stock (homemade, preferably)
- sea salt, black pepper
- 1, 1/2" slice of Jambon de Paris (optional)
- Rinse the beans, pick out any stones, etc. Move the beans to a bowl, and cover them with water. Let the beans soak overnight.
- The next morning, mince the garlic. Quarter, clean, and slice the leeks.
- In your bean-making pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it's warm, add the garlic. Saute the garlic on it's own for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the leeks, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the leeks are translucent. Add the thyme and the bay leaf to the pot.
- Add the beans to the pot, as well as enough water to cover them by several inches. Raise the heat to high, and let the water come to a boil for 5 minutes. After that, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook the beans for 1 hour/1.5 hours, or until soft.
- When the beans have cooked, remove the lid from the pot. If there is still liquid covering the beans, let it boil away. Then add the chicken stock. Cook for another 30 minutes or so, until the beans are half falling apart.
- Now add salt and pepper, to taste. Blend the soup however you like: with a fork or potato masher if you want to keep it chunky, or with an emersion blender (or regular blender) if you want a smoother consistency.
- If you are adding the ham, cut the slice into bite-sized pieces now. Add it to the soup, and cook for another 10 minutes or so, just so that the flavors blend.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Leeks
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