Tuesday, December 22, 2009

martha moments: Marmalade's white bean soup

while on vacation in puerto rico this year, we were fortunate enough to eat at marmalade restaurant in old san juan. let me tell you, if you are heading to puerto rico anytime in your future, you must add this to your list. i think it's the most money we have EVER spent on dinner ( or any meal, for that matter... ) but it was out of this world. it's right on up there with bobby flay's mesa grill, a place that i have often referred to as "last meal-worthy."

one stand out at marmalade was the white bean soup, which is one of their signature items ("signature" meaning if-you-leave-this-place-without-having-this-soup-you-are-a-freaking-Idiocrates.)

the waiter was kind enough to share the recipe with us, and so i'm passing it along to you. it looks complicated, but i promise, it's not. and it's worth every. single. step.

Marmalade's White Bean Soup

Note: This recipe yields about 8 quarts of soup (if you can't visualize 8 quarts, I'll make it simple....it's a LOT.) You need a big stockpot to make this soup (or 2 large ones.) Having said that, it does freeze well, so you can either half the recipe or make it all and freeze some, like I do.

You'll need:

2 lb. bag of dried navy beans, soaked in water for 24 hours
12-14 slices of smoked bacon

2 stalk of celery, chopped

1 large white or yellow onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and whole

2 stems fresh thyme

1 gallon chicken stock
1/4 lb. butter

1 cup heavy cream

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup thinly sliced chives
4 tbsp. black truffle oil
1/4 cup bacon "dust"

Cook the bacon in a microwave on ridged bacon plate. Reserve the drippings/fat.

Chop the bacon finely using a knife or food processor (or you can grate it). Set aside.

Gently cook the celery and onion under medium heat in the bacon fat for 6-10 minutes, stirring constantly making sure not to brown.

When onions are translucent, add soaked beans (drained from water), thyme, garlic, butter, cream and chicken stock. Bring this mixture to a boil, and reduce to a very gentle simmer for 1 1/2 hours while covering the pot with a lid, stirring occasionally.

When the beans begin to split open and are tender, remove from heat for 1 hour to slightly cool.

After 1 hour, remove the beans and other solid ingredients (celery, onions, garlic) from the pot, reserving the liquid. Place the solid mixture into a blender or food processor (blender is best) and slowly add the liquid back into the solid mixture while pureeing to velvet texture.

You may not have to use all of the reserved liquid. Just add enough to make the soup the consistency you like.

Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Garnish with chives, truffle oil*, & the reserved bacon "dust."

Yields about 8 quarts of soup, or 32- 8 oz servings.

*Black truffle oil can be found at the Fresh Market or on several online gourmet cooking sites. (and yes, it's worth it!)

Recipe courtesy of Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar, Old San Juan, P.R.