Fresh Shelling Bean and Escarole Soup

Fresh Shelling Bean and Escarole Soup

Serves 4-6

Recipe inspired by the tips of and conversations with Michael Tsai of Three Sacks Full. 

Unlike dried beans, fresh, plump shell beans are quick and easy to make and they don’t have to be soaked overnight to soften them up before you begin the cooking. 

At the end of summer, we begin to anticipate the simple pleasure of spending a little time in a pretty setting or just simply on the porch, removing the beans from their pods before cooking.  It’s also a great family activity or thing to do with a friend!

Shelled O'driscoll beans, by Three Sacks Full 

For maximum flavor, you can drop a small Parmigiano cheese rind into the pot to infuse the soup with its delicious flavor as it is bubbling away.  You can usually find cheese rinds at upscale grocery stores or you can buy a wedge (yes, it’s a splurge, but such a treat!) and cut the rind off for the soup.


About 5-6 tablespoons of  extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot,  minced

1 rib celery, minced

1 medium onion or two shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 fresh rosemary sprig, minced

1/4 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper

1 pound of fresh O’Driscoll beans, removed from the pod and rinsed

6 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock 

1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind 

5 piennolo tomatoes

1 head of escarole, chopped

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toasty, garlic rubbed sliced sourdough bread for serving.


  1. In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, rosemary, and pepper flakes and gently sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the beans, stock, Parmigiano cheese rind, and piennolo tomatoes and bring to a boil. 
  3. Adjust the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot, and gently simmer until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes or so and the tomatoes have broken down. The beans should be covered with the cooking liquid throughout the entire cooking time, add more boiling water, as necessary.
  4. About 5 minutes before serving, add the chopped escarole and stir once or twice to combine.  Let it cook until just wilted. 
  5. Ladle the soup into the bowls and drizzle with a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with garlic rubbed toasted slices of sourdough tucked into the side of the bowl and grated Parm on the table. Enjoy!

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