Butter Bean Minestrone

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BUTTER BEAN MINESTRONE

Reprinted from “The Chef and the Slow Cooker” by Hugh Acheson. Copyright © 2017 by Fried Pie, LLC. Photographs by Andrew Thomas Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Southern minestrone at its finest is a brothy celebration of all things vegetable, with a bright basil pistou stirred in to finish. You can tweak this recipe to use whatever you have in the crisper drawer. Remember that minestrone, like many soups, tastes better the next day, heated up and served with good crusty bread and some cheese on the side.

Slow cooker size: 4+ quarts
Serves 6
Prep time: overnight soak plus 30 minutes
Cook time: 7 to 9 hours

 

1 pound dried butter beans
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, small-diced
2 quarts Vegetable Stock (page 27) or Slow Cooker Chicken Broth (page 17)
1 large carrot, small-diced
1 celery stalk, small-diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seeds
4 plum tomatoes, small-diced
1 small zucchini, small-diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 cup Basil Pistou (recipe follows)

 

Place the beans in a large bowl and add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Cover the bowl and soak the beans in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, in a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softening, then remove from the heat.

Drain the beans and add them to the slow cooker. Add the stock, onions, carrot, and celery. Cover with the lid, turn to the low setting, and cook for 6 to 8 hours, until the beans are tender but not busted.

Stir the ground fennel, tomatoes, zucchini, pepper, and 1 tablespoon salt into the beans. Cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour more. Season to taste with additional salt.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish each one with Basil Pistou and a drizzle of the remaining olive oil. Serve and eat!

 


Basil Pistou

Basil pistou is great to spread on crostini or to dollop on grilled meat or poached fish, and delicious layered into your favorite lasagna recipe. The possibilities are endless!

makes about 2 cups

Kosher salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup shelled roasted unsalted pistachios
½ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set it nearby.

Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water. Blanch the basil in the boiling water for about 20 seconds, until it develops a bright green color, and then immediately plunge it into the waiting ice bath. After a minute, strain the basil from the water, wrap it in a kitchen towel, and squeeze gently to remove excess water.

Place the basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pistachios in a food processor and turn it on. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. The pistou will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.

Hugh Acheson is a chef who truly loves home cooking. He sees the slow cooker not as a fusty old pot roast machine, but as an exciting tool to help people nourish themselves and their families with ease and convenience. In The Chef and the Slow Cooker he brings a chef’s mind to the slow cooker, with 100 recipes showing readers how an appliance generally relegated to convenience cooking can open up many culinary doors.

 

In The Chef and the Slow Cooker Hugh shows how your trusty slow cooker can still surprise you—you can use it to poach fish, to steam-roast a chicken or leg of lamb, to make intense stocks and broths, and of course to braise the most tender short ribs. It’s an approachable, fun, comforting collection of recipes, spiked with global influences and elevated by smart cooking. Using flavor profiles, combinations, and techniques never before seen in a slow cooker cookbook, The Chef and the Slow Cooker proves that even though slow cookers are an old-school technology, they will guide you to better meals in this contemporary world. All while giving you the ability to walk away and live your life while dinner is cooking.

 

Hugh Acheson is the author of the James Beard Foundation Award–winning cookbook A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen; Pick a Pickle: 50 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, and Fermented Snacks; and The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits.

Chef Acheson is chef/partner of the Athens, Georgia restaurants 5&10 and The National and the Atlanta establishments Empire State South, First & Third Hot Dog & Sausage Shack, and Spiller Park Coffee. He is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Seed Life Skills, a living, multimedia curriculum in Family & Consumer Sciences built to support modern environmental education. He is a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Southeast and was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine. Hugh also competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, season 3, and starred as a judge on Top Chef, seasons 9 to 13.

Jeremy's On the Hill -Julian, CA


About the Author:

Chef Acheson is chef/partner of the Athens, Georgia restaurants 5&10 and The National and the Atlanta establishments Empire State South, First & Third Hot Dog & Sausage Shack, and Spiller Park Coffee. He is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Seed Life Skills, a living, multimedia curriculum in Family & Consumer Sciences built to support modern environmental education. He is a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Southeast and was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine. Hugh also competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, season 3, and starred as a judge on Top Chef, seasons 9 to 13.

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