Cannellini Bean & Lamb Soup

Cider food pairings cannellini

If you are looking for a dinner party soup with enough panache to serve to company, this is the one. There are so many things to love about this recipe! Seven small cardamom pods create so much flavor and aroma, and the twenty garlic cloves cook down to this lovely soft texture without any of the harshness of fresh garlic. We grow beans on the farm, and I used a white cannellini bean, but any meaty brown bean will work as well.

Yield: 4 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

¼ small celery root, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice

20 large cloves garlic, peeled but left whole

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into ¾ inch cubes

7 cups water (or use bean cooking liquid)

3 cups cooked cannellini or pinto beans

7 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar

1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (fat-free, low-fat or full fat)

1 clove garlic, minced fine

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

6 lemon wedges, to serve

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot and cook the onion and celery root over medium heat for 15 minutes until the onion is translucent and golden brown. Add the garlic cloves, cumin and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes. Add the meat and water (or reserved bean liquid, if you cooked your own beans). Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming the surface frequently until you get a clear broth. Add cardamom, tomato paste and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer gently until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Add the potatoes to the soup and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. The soup should be thick. Let it bubble a bit longer if it is thin, or add a bit of water or stock if it is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

While soup is simmering, make the garlic yogurt: place the yogurt in a small bowl and stir in the garlic, salt and olive oil. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the soup.

Serve soup hot, garnished with yogurt, cilantro and lemon wedges, and accompanied by bread or naan.

This recipe is from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Every recipe they present turns out perfect!