I've said it before and I'll say it again-- one of my very favourite things about San Francisco is that it's almost always soup weather! I just love soup. You know what else I love? White beans. And leeks. And my Epicurious app on my iPhone.
"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the world than soup?" ~Miss Manners
This recipe is super easy and cheap. It was adapted from a recipe I found on Epicurious, which was adapted from a recipe in Gourmet magazine in 1991. I, of course, tweaked it to fit my needs, taste buds, and pantry, the main differences being omitting the dairy and that the original recipe called for tarragon, which I find far too licorice-y. But, if you like tarragon, by all means use it where I used thyme.
an immersion blender
2 cans cannellini beans
2 C vegetable stock
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp dried thyme
the juice of 1 large lemon, strained and divided
hot pepper flakes
salt & pepper
Thinly slice your leeks (first make sure then are properly cleaned). Heat to medium a hefty swirl of olive oil in your soup pot, and thrown in the leeks, a couple of pinches of salt, and a pinch of hot pepper flakes. Toss to coat well and then let caramelize, 3-4 minutes. The rings will start to break apart and get nice brown bits on them. Add the garlic and toss well again, to brown the bits that haven't browned yet.
In the meantime, put the two cans of beans, undrained, into a mixing bowl with 2C of vegetable stock, and 1 tsp of dried thyme. Using your immersion blender, blend to a smooth consistency.
Back in your soup pot, deglaze the bottom with half of your lemon juice, scraping up all the little yummy bits of garlic and leek. Add the pureed beans and drop the heat down to medium-low. Heat up to serving temperature (do not boil). Taste and adjust seasoning. Once you pull the soup from the heat, stir in the remaining lemon juice and serve!
Note: I am extremely lazy when cooking for one, but if I was serving this to people I would have pan-fried some leeks on the side and put a few on the top. It would also be delicious with a handful of garlicky croutons.