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Tuscan White Bean Soup is my ultimate comfort food when the weather gets chilly. It's rich and creamy with delicate flavors of garlic and sage.
Make this easy and delicious soup recipe with canned cannelini beans or with dried beans that you've cooked yourself. You'll find my favorite slow cooker method below.
Ingredients You Need to Make Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Cannellini Beans: Or Great Northern beans, canned or home cooked.
- Butter: Salted or Unsalted.
- Olive Oil: Good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
- Shallots: Look for firm, plump shallots.
- Chicken Broth: Homemade Chicken Broth (chicken stock) or store bought.
- Garlic: You'll need 6 large cloves. It sounds like a lot, but I promise it's just right.
- Heavy Cream: Just enough to make this soup taste luxurious. Half and half is also an option.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: To taste.
- Chives: For garnish. A few small, fresh sage leaves are also a nice touch if you have them.
How to Cook Dry Beans in a Slow Cooker
I wonder who started the myth that soaking beans with salt would make them tough? It doesn't. Soaking beans in salted water before cooking actually tenderizes the skin and infuses the whole bean with flavor. True. And starting with dry beans that you've cooked is not only economical, but will make your Tuscan White Bean soup far better than starting with beans from a can.
Thank goodness that Keith checked out Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen from our local library, or I might still believe the myth. The ratio is simple - 3 tablespoons of salt dissolved into 4 quarts of water and 1 pound of dry beans. Soak the beans in the salty water overnight and rinse the next morning. Transfer the beans to the bowl of a slow cooker and add enough water to cover them by about an inch; cook on low until tender.
Alternatively, you can cook them in an oven safe pot with a tightly fitting lid in a slow oven (300 degrees F). Cooking time for dried beans swings wildly depending on the age of the beans. It could be 3 hours, up to 6 or more (test them often once you cross the 3 hour mark). This will yield about 6 ½ cups of cooked beans. Note: Cooked beans freeze beautifully.
More Hearty Winter Soups
How to Make Tuscan White Bean Soup
Step 1: In a medium Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté shallot in butter and olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add sage, beans, and chicken broth; stir and bring to simmer. Add garlic and simmer 10 minutes more.
Step 2: Puree half of the soup in batches in a standard blender (with hot liquid, always cover blender with a towel instead of a lid) or with an immersion blender right in the pot. Return soup to pot and stir in cream, salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until heated through, but not boiling. Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with chives and a drizzle of olive oil.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots finely chopped
- 3 large fresh sage leaves or more if small
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans drained, or 3 cups home cooked (recipe note #1)
- 4 cups chicken broth (recipe note #2)
- 6 large garlic cloves smashed and peeled
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- kosher salt to taste
- extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- minced fresh chives for garnish
- Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add butter, olive oil, and minced shallot; cook and stir until shallots are softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add sage leaves and beans; stir to combine. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- Add garlic and simmer until garlic is soft, about 10 minutes more.
- Use a handheld immersion blender if you have one, to puree about half of the soup, leaving a few beans in tact. Be sure to puree the sage leaves; they're pretty potent if you end up with a whole leaf in your mouth.) If you don't have an immersion blender, use a standard blender, pureeing the soup in batches. Because the soup is hot, use a towel to cover the blender instead of the lid. Hot liquids in a lidded blender expand and will splatter out and could burn you.
- Once you've pureed your desired amount of soup and poured it back in the soup pot, add the heavy cream, pepper, and salt to taste. Heat until warm enough to serve, but not boiling.
- Serve with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle of chives.
- Great northern beans work well here too.
- Use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version of this soup.