5 cups water, plus 1 cup for splashing pot
1/4 cup Lucini® Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil®
10 black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
4 dried bay leaves
4 dried red chiles
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 large red onions, chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 cups dried cannellini beans soaked in cool water overnight and drained (if using canned beans see note)
12 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
Pinch asafetida (optional)
Lemon wedges for serving
Place 1 cup of water next to your stove top. Heat the olive oil with the peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, red chiles and cinnamon in a large pot over medium-high heat until the cinnamon unfurls, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and salt and cook until the onions are soft and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bacon, parsnips and garlic and cook until the onions are deeply brown, about 10 minutes longer. Stir often, splashing the pot with water (you may not need the full cup) and scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pot if the onions or bacon begin to stick. Add the cannellini beans, scallions and asafetida (if using) and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve with a lemon wedge.
*For a faster soup, use 4 1/2 cups canned and rinsed cannellini beans (or other white beans), adding them with the scallions, and cooking for 30 minutes instead of 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
*In India, a pinch of asafetida is often added to dishes with beans. Not only does it lend an elusive, garlic-onion flavor, but it also helps the body digest the beans.
Chef Suvir Saran is the author of two widely acclaimed cookbooks, American Masala: 125 New Classics From My Home Kitchen and Indian Home Cooking. His restaurant, Dévi has received a one-star rating in the Michelin Guide New York City two years in a row. Photo by Ben Fink.