Califonia Bountiful
Side Dish

White bean soup with Meyer lemon

Dried beans all have distinctive flavors, but the big white ones are Ann Evans' favorites. Look for beans labeled Gigante or Corona, which she says are especially robust and meaty tasting.

Ann M. Evans 
Author, Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, Revised Edition

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2 cups (about 1 lb.) Corona or other dried large white beans
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 dried bay leaves or 3 fresh bay leaves
4 fresh thyme sprigs
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Wild or small cultivated arugula leaves, coarse stems removed, for garnish
Narrow strips of Meyer lemon zest, for garnish


To prepare beans, rinse them well, then place in a large bowl, add water to cover generously and let soak overnight. Alternatively, place rinsed beans in a saucepan, add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain beans and reserve.

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, warm butter and olive oil over medium heat. When fat is hot, add onion, rosemary, bay leaves and thyme, and sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until garlic begins to turn golden, 30 to 45 seconds.

Add beans to the pot and stir to coat with oil, onions and herbs. Add water, salt and pepper, stir well, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until beans are tender yet firm and not at all mushy, about 1 hour. The timing will depend on the age of the beans and how long they were soaked.

Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with arugula leaves and lemon zest, and serve immediately.

Serves 6

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