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Glen Ellen Star's Roasted Escarole and Pancetta Soup with White Beans


Chef ari and chef bryant

Since it was established in 2012, Glen Ellen Star has been a must-visit Sonoma County restaurant, renown for its wood-fired dishes including pizzas. The culinary team of chef and owner Ari Weiswasser, a French Laundry alum, and chef de cuisine Bryant Minuche, who cooked at both Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, source pristine local ingredients to showcase the best of California.

About the soup, Minuche says that it was a dish his grandmother would serve him often. “She would often switch up the meat component of the dish with sausage, meatballs, and my all-time favorite smoked ham hocks. So, feel free to switch it up, it’s a great base for a delicious hearty soup,” says Minuche.

"Good quality heirloom beans are key," he adds. "Be sure to cook the beans until they are creamy and tender before combining them with the aromatics and stock. Any leftover beans can also be used to top toasted bread or tossed with pasta."

1 cup roughly chopped escarole
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup diced smoked pancetta (or bacon)
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced onion
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca or Marcella beans (about 2/3 cup dried), with 2 cups of cooking liquid
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, sliced, to finish
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish


Preheat the oven to 450F. In a bowl, toss the escarole and the olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 5 to 8 minutes until you get some color and wilting begins; remove and set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, cooking until the onion is translucent.

Add the chicken stock, thyme, 1 cup of cooked beans, and 1 cup of bean liquid. Mash the remaining cup of beans and bean broth, then add to the pot. The mashed beans will add a light creaminess to the soup.

Once the soup comes to a light boil, add the escarole and Parmesan and serve. Ladle into a bowl and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a generous pinch of chopped parsley.

We are thrilled to have Lou Bustamante (@thevillagedrunk) doing some guest writing for our blog. He'll be featuring a handful of our favorite bean-friendly spots in the Bay Area. 


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