Mother Earth Living

Sage Through the Ages: Hearty White Bean And Greens Soup Recipe

This hearty bean soup recipe is rich with herbal taste and perfect for cool fall days.
By Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay
April/May 2001
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Fresh sage blends well with other mediterranean herbs in the kitchen.

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We find that old beans just won’t become tender, no matter how you cook them, so use fresh dried beans in this hearty, very herbal dish, good for cold weather in fall or early spring.

• 1 pound dried white beans, washed and picked over
• 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup sliced celery
• 2 large cloves garlic, mashed
• 1 pound smoked Polish sausage (optional) cut in 1/2-inch dice
• 4 to 6 sprigs each: rosemary, sweet marjoram or oregano, sage, and thyme
• 3 to 4 bay leaves
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 8 to 10 cups poultry or vegetable broth, preferably unsalted, or water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
• 2 cups diced turnips or rutabagas
• 3 to 4 cups thinly sliced fresh greens, such as collards, Oriental cabbage, or turnip or mustard greens, with tough stems removed
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup robust herbal wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or other fresh herbs for garnish

1. Place beans in a small roaster or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes; turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. 2. Drain and rinse beans. Add onion, celery, garlic, sausage (if desired), herbs (except parsley), and coriander. 3. Add enough broth or water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. 4. Simmer over lower heat for about 75 minutes, or until beans are nearly tender. Add more broth or water as needed to keep soup at about the same volume. 5. Add salt, pepper, carrots, and turnips or rutabagas. Continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender; add more liquid if desired. 6. Add greens and cook for about 10 minutes, or until just wilted. To thicken the broth, remove a spoonful of beans with a slotted spoon, mash or blend them, and return them to the pan. 7. Stir in the vinegar; adjust salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs just before serving.

Read the orignal article: Sage Through the Ages: Gardening, Healing and Cooking with Sage.

 “Sage Through the Ages” originally appeared in The Herb Companion in 1993. Gwen Barclay and Madalene Hill live, cook, and garden in the central Texas town of Round Top. Gwen is the director of food service at the International Festival Institute, and Madalene is the curator of the public herb gardens. 

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