By David Cohen
Dry beans are best as the water you boil them in makes for the richest broth. But canned beans are still good, just make sure you strain them and rinse well before using. Navy, cannellini or any white bean will work.
If you’re starting with dry beans, soak for six hours, drain and then add them to a soup pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Lightly boil until the beans are soft and then drain, making sure to reserve all of the bean broth.
The golden-brown garlic is the key to this soup. Generously cover the bottom of a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil and set over low to medium heat. Add a handful of peeled garlic cloves to the pot and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden all over … not dark brown.
Add a chopped onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the beans and enough liquid to cover the beans by a couple of inches. Use either half and half bean broth and chicken stock if you used dry beans or all chicken stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes and then blend until silky smooth using a stick blender or food processor. If it’s too thick add some more broth or stock. If it’s too thin, simmer longer. Salt and pepper to taste.