All the women in my family make this soup and we all make it slightly different. For example my grandmother used to make this soup with a beef shank, which makes it more like a stew; My aunts Shuli and Sara add to their recipe carrots and potatoes, which give it more volume and some sweetness. My mother makes it without meat or vegetables and it’s still delicious. I make it like my mother but I add two chipotle peppers (smoke-dried jalapeño that are primarily used in Mexican cuisine), which gives the soup a deep smoky, meaty flavor.
White Bean & Tomato Soup
- 2 cups Navy or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight – or *canned beans
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups tomato juice or 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or handful parsley
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon hot paprika or chili powder
- 1 or 2 dried chipotle peppers (optional)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Sea salt
- Put the beans in a large dutch oven or soup pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming off the foam occasionally. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. .
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring into a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 1-2 hours. Remove the thyme stems. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve with Basmati rice or a a good bread.