White Bean Soup
by Margaret Berg, Bensenville, IL
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large potato, cubed
Parsley, chopped, to taste
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 cans white beans or lighter beans (northern, pinto,
2 stalks celery, chopped
Melt olive oil and butter in a heavy soup
pot. Wilt your vegetables: onion and potato. Add seasonings
and garlic. (Hot pepper flakes, if desired, can be added
to the oil/butter.) Cover with water, bring to a boil, lower
to simmer, and cook until potato is tender. Add beans and
celery; add a little more water. Adjust seasonings and heat.
Mash up some of the beans and potatoes to thicken as desired.
Add milk and heat, do not boil. Adjust seasonings to taste.
At the very end, throw in a handful of torn pieces of escarole,
romaine, or spinach. Serve with grated cheese over pieces
of day-old Italian bread.
Variations: This was a cheap Depression meal,
hot and satisfying. Other “white” vegetables
can be added, such as fennel, turnip, and parsnip. To change
the look and taste of the 3-bean soup, use black and/or
red beans. You can use sweet or yellow potatoes, carrots,
plum tomatoes, yellow onions. Do not use milk; add wine
and more water. To thicken, mash or put half the vegetables
in blender. Keep adjusting the seasonings to taste. Both
of these variations are vegetarian soups. For extra flavor,
use vegetable stock for cooking. To add more protein, cube
and role firm tofu in fine seasoned crumbs, fry in a little
oil, and serve on top of soup with the grated cheese.