Eat healthier and save money by adding beans to your meals. This recipe blends creamy home-cooked navy beans with healthy veggies like carrots, onion and leek. Beans are a good source of protein and an excellent source of fiber and folate. Research has shown that the lignans and saponins found in beans and legumes may help protect against certain cancers.
Place beans in deep pot and cover with cold water to 1-inch above beans. Bring water to boil and simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. Off heat, cover and let beans sit for 1 hour. Drain beans.
In same pot, cover beans with cold water to 2-inches above beans. Over medium-high heat, bring just to gentle boil. Cover pot partway so it does not boil over, and simmer beans until soft and creamy, 45-60 minutes. Set beans aside in cooking liquid until ready to use. Or, if not using within 4 hours, drain cooled beans and refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
In food processor, pulse leek, onion, carrot, celery and parsley until finely chopped and moist.
In medium Dutch oven or small soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until they soften, 5 minutes. Cover tightly, reduce heat and gently cook vegetables until they let their juices, 10 minutes. Increase heat and cook vegetables until golden, 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, 2 cups water and rosemary. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are very soft, 20 minutes. Off heat, use immersion blender to whirl soup until partly pureed, with some vegetables bits remaining.
Add 2 cups drained cooked beans to soup. Return pot to heat and cook until beans are heated through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Divide soup among 6 deep soup bowls. If desired garnish with Fried Leek. Or pass grated Parmesan cheese on the side.