Recipe: Tasty Tuscan White Bean Soup
Bounty-ful … Here, a recipe for healthy, hearty eats from Niagara’s Chef Therese De Grace.
Chef Therese De Grace welcomes everyone to her table. Whether she’s cooking for good friends at her home or for the hundreds of guests who visit the Good Earth Food and Wine Co. in Niagara every week, she makes sure there’s something for everyone. You might just call this good hospitality – ensuring that everyone is well taken care of – but it’s still refreshing.
“We really need to be versatile at this time in the world,” she says over lunch on the Good Earth patio, as we gaze out over the orchards and vineyards of the Beamsville Bench. “Everyone has some kind of allergy or issue, and you don’t want people to feel like an afterthought, and that’s very important to us.”
De Grace came on board the Good Earth last year, joining owner Nicolette Novak at the family farm she’s lovingly morphed into a busy cooking school, bistro and winery. Locus delecti is the motto here, a play on locus delicti (Latin legalese for “scene of the crime”). It’s Novak’s inside joke.
“I like to say it’s the scene of the delicious,” she says. The Good Earth has been ahead of its time since 1998, when Novak opened the cooking school and began to dabble with the terms farm-to-table and wine-country cuisine that are now part of the foodie nomenclature.
“I grew up in a really eclectic family, so I like to eat globally – but I want to use ingredients that are local,” says De Grace. Her Tuscan white bean soup is a case in point. “This is a really awesome soup. It’s hearty, protein-rich. The olive oil and Tuscan white bean together almost melts on your tongue.”
Make it vegan by omitting the bacon topping and use a little more oil to replace the butter. “My partner and I, we entertain a lot, and we made a version of this soup with all these things on the side so you can create your own potage.”
Think kale threads, fresh basil, truffle oil, Grana Padano cheese, crusty bread … the sky’s the limit, really.
Just look to the good earth for inspiration. —Dick Snyder
Recipe for De Grace’s tasty Tuscan White Bean Soup
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup minced white onions
4 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup roasted Roma tomatoes
3 cups cooked white beans (navy beans are best)
1 small potato, diced (preferably Yukon Gold)
Water or vegetable stock
1 bunch basil
Optional Toppings: Crispy bacon, truffle oil, kale threads, Grana Padano, fresh basil
In pot, heat butter and olive oil; cook onions and garlic until translucent. Deglaze with white wine.
Add tomatoes, beans and potato; cover with water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove from heat and purée in blender or food processor until smooth.
Refrigerate for one day before serving to allow flavours to build. Reheat and garnish with the options listed above or get creative.