White Bean Soup with Pomegranate Salsa
2 cups dried white cannelloni beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, minced
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pomegranate arils
¼ cup freshly minced Italian parsley
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
Soak Beans (2 hours or overnight)
Soup (1 hr. 30 minutes)
Pick through the beans and discard any small pebbles or debris. Place beans in a large pot, then cover the beans with 2 to 4 inches of cold water. Let soak at least 2 hours or overnight.
Transfer soaked beans to a colander, and rinse under cold running water. Return to the pot, and cover with 2 to 4 inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook until very tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Drain well, and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the cooked beans and 2 cups of water; bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the flavors are melded (about 15 minutes).
Cool briefly, then puree until smooth using an immersion blender or standard blender. Return to the pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
In a medium bowl, combine pomegranate syrup, lime juice, and shallot; whisk to combine. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the pomegranate arils and parsley; toss well.
Ladle hot soup into bowls; garnish with a spoonful of the salsa in the center of the soup, and drizzle a bit of the olive oil over all. Serve immediately.