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When I was living near Baltimore, Maryland, a friend asked for my Brunswick Stew recipe. One of the ingredients I listed was “butterbeans.” A few days after I had given her the recipe, my friend (who was originally from Connecticut) called. “I was just at the grocery store and I couldn’t find anything called butterbeans. What ARE they?” she asked. I laughed and said “I think you call them baby lima beans.”
I couldn’t help but think of this story when I read Emeril Lagasse’s introduction to the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe recipe in his new cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. “We used baby lima beans because we just love their tender, creamy consistency…,” said Emeril. Are Virginians the only ones who call them “butterbeans?” I’d love to hear where you are from and what YOU call these luscious beans of joy!
I didn’t make many changes to the recipe below. I will say that it would be a better meal for a cold winter day than it was for an 85° day in September when my air conditioning wasn’t working. My version was chunkier than Emeril’s and more of a stew than a soup. My “dried Italian herbs” were oregano and Herbes de Provence (I know, I know) plus I skipped the water and used extra chicken stock instead. (You could easily make this a vegetarian recipe by using vegetable stock instead.) This was my first time using broccoli rabe and I liked it. I don’t know how often I’ll be willing to drive 80 miles round-trip to the closest grocery store that sells it, but I’ll definitely cook it again. Also, the hit of acid in the form of lemon juice at the end really brightened the flavor.
Emeril says this soup will serve six. I cut the recipe in half and thought it would easily serve four or five people. I’ve provided two sets of nutritional information below: one for Emeril’s serving size and one for my serving size. Your first reaction will probably be “Wow, that’s a lot of carbs!” Keep in mind there’s also a whopping amount of fiber, which offsets some of the carb grams. This soup is low in Cholesterol and it’s a good source of Vitamin K, Folate, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. The soup also contains a lot of Sodium. If you are watching your Sodium intake, either cut back on the amount of salt or use less Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Don’t forget! Comment on this or any other post in the Emeril’s One-Pot Cooking Party category before September 22, 2011 and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. Contest open to U.S. residents only.
All nutritional information provided below was calculated by Diabetic Foodie using the tools on the nutritiondata.com website. Photo above courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups small-diced onion
- 1 cup small-diced celery
- 1 cup small-diced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 pounds dried white beans cannellini, baby lima, or great Northern, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
- 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind about 1 × 3 inches
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe tough stem ends trimmed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, beans, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer gently and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 1 cup of the beans from the pot to a small bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon. Return the mashed beans to the soup and add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until the broth thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining black pepper, the broccoli rabe, and rosemary sprig and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove the Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig and discard them. Serve the soup in wide, shallow bowls, garnished with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
I found this recipe easily made 10 servings. If you reduce your portion size in this way, the nutritional information looks better per serving: 507 calories, 11g fat (4g sat), 19mg cholesterol, 1553mg sodium, 71g carb, 25g fiber, 6g sugar, 33g protein
Nutrition facts per serving (1 cup)
Disclosure: For my participation in the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls and a jar of Emeril’s Original Essence. Upon successful completion of the party, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and additional cookbooks by Emeril Lagasse. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will also be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of them and make a purchase, I will receive a tiny fee. Please see my disclosures page for more information.