The lovely Karen, Orchard Mistress Supreme at Lemon Ladies Orchard in Northern California, sent me a little gift box of Meyer lemons in the mail last week (as well as some of her amazing Santa Rosa plum jam). And I’ll tell you, in a year that has so far included birth and death, travel and tribulation, shoveling and shoveling and shoveling some more, months spent away from home, broken bones and broken water and broken hearts: it was a very welcome surprise.
While a good portion of these lovely Meyers are no doubt destined for cocktails (see aforementioned Trials & Tribulations of 2015), I wanted to make a simple, very lemony, soup, showcasing my favorite fennel, some gorgeous heirloom white beans from Rancho Gordo, and a really lovely olive oil that my friend Lynda brought up for Christmas.
Ask, and ye shall receive: light, slightly sweet from the fennel, nicely puckery-floral from the fragrant Meyers, and creamy, mild white beans all married together with a few aromatics makes for a very nice soup indeed. I think I’ll go have a bowl right now.
p.s. Should you want to store that lemony soup in a fantastic stainless steel container, there is still time to enter the giveaway!
- ½ lb dried white beans, soaked overnight (I used Ayocote Blanco from Rancho Gordo)
- a tasty, fruity olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 medium carrots, sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 3 large fennel stalks, sliced, feathery fronds reserved
- 3 scallions, sliced
- sea salt
- Aleppo pepper
- 1 pint stock, chicken or vegetable
- 1 quart water
- zest + juice of 2 medium Meyer lemons
- splash of olive oil + squeeze of lemon, for serving
- Cook beans. Add the soaked beans to a medium Dutch oven or bean pot with fresh water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a bare simmer, and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt after about 30 minutes of cooking time. Drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside.
- Sauté vegetables. Clean & chop vegetables while the white beans cook. Heat a generous splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Once shimmering, add onion, carrot, celery, fennel stalks and scallions to the pot. Stir, season liberally with salt and Aleppo pepper, then sauté over medium-low heat until vegetables are softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Prepare soup. Add stock and water to the pot. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, juice and remaining fennel fronds. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of Meyer lemon.
Serves 6 – 8.
- If you can’t find Meyer lemons, use the zest + juice of one regular (Eureka) lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed.
- Cannellini beans, or another white runner bean, are a good substitute for the Ayocote Blanco.
- The quality of the olive oil will have a big impact on the overall flavor of the soup: use a good quality oil for cooking and the best quality oil for serving.
Refrigerated for up to 5 days. Frozen for up to 6 months.