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Cooking with Kai Ryssdal

Kai Ryssdal Mar 25, 2011

Today I interviewed chef Farid Zadi, dean of culinary arts at the Ecole de Cuisine, for a story about the economics of culinary school. While I was there, I decided to take a crash course in French cooking. Chef Zadi led me through making his White Bean Soup, a simple dish that you can make for under 10 bucks.

Give it a try at home. Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 lb dried Great Northern beans or flageolets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (3-by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano Reggiano rind
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)


Rinse and pick over the beans; soak beans overnight in cold water to cover. Add olive oil to an 8-quart pot, add onions and celery and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, chicken stock, 1 quart water, bay leaf, cheese rind, salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered until beans are tender. (cooking times vary depending on freshness of dried beans and variety used). Remove bay leaf and cheese rind. Lemon juice brightens up the flavor of slow cooked dishes. Stir in just before service, if desired.

Video Produced by Matt Berger

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