I don't know about you, but winter in Urbana-Champaign has been extremely mild this year. We've maybe (?) had 6-8" of snow total. Which, I don't mind telling you in great candor, I love. The harsh 100"+ snowy winters of Wisconsin from 2008-2009 followed us down here. Not the 100" per se , but residents of the area complained that the last two winters down here were far worse than many in recent memory. My bad, guys. I bring the weather with me. Yes, I hate it too. So, it's been a huge relief to have a warm, snowless winter.
Warm snowless winters don't make me crave the hearty soup staples of a Wisconsin winter any less. And this dish fits the bill. Fresh sage and thyme are the only way to go, since they provide such crucial bursts of flavor. Pureed white beans provide a thick, hearty base, and roasted mushrooms give a sweet, fleshy thank you for going through the trouble of making a soup from scratch and not just popping open a can of Campbell's.
This soup begs to be served with piece of crusty sourdough bread.
And like many soups of the hot and hearty variety, this is much better the 2nd and 3rd day.
White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup (from She Wears Many Hats)
-16 oz. mushrooms, halved or quartered
-2 large sweet onions, quartered
-3 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
-1-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
-1 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
-8-10 fresh sage leaves
-8-10 stems + 1 tablespoon leaves fresh thyme, divided
-48 oz. chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted for a vegetarian version)
-3 15 oz. cans white beans, not drained (I prefer cannellini beans)
-Additional salt and pepper for seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Toss mushrooms, garlic and onion in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. (You may want to keep mushrooms separate on baking sheet for roasting, because you'll have to separate later. So, separate now, or later.) Spread on baking sheet. Add sage leaves and stems of thyme. Roast in 450° F oven for 10 minutes, toss and roast for additional 15 minutes.
3. While vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves to a large stock pot over medium heat and simmer.
4. When vegetables are done roasting, let cool slightly. Separate mushrooms from other roasted vegetables (if not already separated).
5. Retrieve 2 cups of the white beans, and 1 cup of broth from the stock pot, add to a blender along with the roasted onions, garlic and herbs. Cover and blend until smooth.
6. Add pureed bean mixture back to stock pot, whisking in until smooth. Add roasted mushrooms to soup. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Warm over low heat until ready to serve.
-6-8 hearty servings