One Year Ago:  West Lake Soup


Well, the calendar says spring has come, but here in New England it’s getting a pretty slow start.  I love soups all year long, but as we move to spring and summer we tend to have them less often (my son’s not the biggest soup fan).  But as winter’s chilly grasp is slow to let go, this soup is a great serving of warm comfort full of rich flavor.

If you’d like a copy of the recipe without the pictures, you can email me at  If you’d like updates of future recipe updates, you can subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter @Dan65802.



12oz. dried cannellini beans

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large leek (white part only), thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 small carrots, finely chopped

1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped

8 cups water

¼ tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. dried marjoram

Salt and pepper


1 garlic clove

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed

8oz. almond-stuffed green olives, drained

5 Tbs. olive oil


Pick over beans, cover generously with cold water, and leave to soak overnight.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 02

Drain the beans, put in a saucepan, and add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 02a

Drain and rinse well.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and leek. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 03a

Add the garlic, celery, carrots and fennel, and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 04a

Add the water, drained beans, and the herbs. When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 05

Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for about 1½ hours, until the beans are very tender.

Meanwhile, make the tapenade. Put the garlic, parsley, drained olives and olive oil in a food processor or blender.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 06

Blend to a puree and scrape into a small serving bowl.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 06b

Allow the soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and process until smooth, working in batches if necessary.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 07a

Return the pureed soup to the rinsed-out pot and thin with a little water, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until heated through.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 07b

Ladle into warmed bowls and serve, placing a generous teaspoon of the tapenade onto each serving.

White Bean Soup with Olive Tapenade 00

If you have questions or comments, you can send me an email at the address above, or you can drop me a line in the comments section.

Enjoy your week and enjoy good food with those you love.  Our love for our friends and family is just a shadow of the love God has for us.