White Bean and Ham Soup

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This creamy, pureed white bean soup is studded with ham and garnished with paprika-dusted croutons.

Overhead view of white bean and ham soup, served in green bowls and garnished with croutons and scallions.
Photo:

Diana Chistruga

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Yield:
6

When Grace Parisi was growing up, her mother made white bean and escarole soup every Friday. To transform the soup into a heartier main course, Parisi substitutes ham and spiced croutons for the greens. First, aromatic vegetables and thyme sprigs are cooked until fragrant. Ham and white beans are added, along with chicken stock. After infusing the broth and beans with smoky flavor, the ham is removed from the pot and diced. The vegetables, stock, and white beans are then pureed into a creamy, intensely savory soup. The diced ham is stirred back into the soup, and each bowl is topped with seasoned croutons and showered with sliced scallions.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 carrot, coarsely shredded

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained

  • 1 pound smoked ham in 1 piece

  • 1 1/2 cups baguette, cubed (1-inch)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced crosswise

Directions

  1. Overhead view of prep bowls containing the ingredients for white bean and ham soup.

    Diana Chistruga

    Gather your ingredients.

  2. Onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme are cooked in butter.

    Diana Chistruga

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and coriander and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.

  3. Beans, stock, and ham are added to the pot.

    Diana Chistruga

    Add the stock, beans, and ham and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat for 20 minutes.

  4. Overhead view of a rimmed baking sheet strewn with seasoned bread cubes.

    Diana Chistruga

    Meanwhile, toss the baguette cubes with the olive oil and paprika and season with salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted.

  5. Ham is diced on a cutting board.

    Diana Chistruga

    Remove the ham from the soup and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Discard the thyme sprigs.

  6. Overhead view of a blender carafe containing the puréed soup.

    Diana Chistruga

    Working in two batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

  7. The puréed soup and ham are returned to the pot.

    Diana Chistruga

    Return the soup to the pot and stir in the diced ham. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into warmed shallow bowls.

  8. The finished soup, garnished with croutons and sliced scallion.

    Diana Chistruga

    Top with the croutons and scallion and serve.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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