According to ancient Greek mythology, Theseus promised Apollo olive branches and fresh fruit if he triumphed over the fearsome Minotaur. But stores of fresh food were nearly depleted during the return sail from Crete, forcing Theseus to offer this simple soup to the god. And it is fit for the gods!
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, or more if needed
- Three 15-ounce cans cannellini or navy beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again
- 2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Rustic country-style bread, for serving
Heat a heavy pot, like a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add
2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring regularly. Next, add the garlic, celery, bay leaf, and oregano. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the broth, cannellini beans, carrots, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil for 3 minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, adding more broth if necessary.
Remove the bay leaf. Ladle 2 cups of the soup into the bowl of a food processor or a blender jar. (If using a blender, place a folded kitchen towel over the lid and hold it down firmly.) Blend, then return to the cooking pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat.
Off the heat, stir in about 1/3 cup of olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Transfer to serving bowls and top each bowl with another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Serve with your favorite rustic bread.
Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from themediterraneandish.com