White Bean Soup

3 cans high quality Great Northern or Navy beans
1 to 2 cups Pino Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc wine (Smooth dry, not sweet wine)
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 medium/large sweet yellow onion, fine diced
1/2 cup slivered shallots or leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely sliced celery
4 large garlic cloves, minced
Ham or bacon, slivered - add to taste
64 oz fresh chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth, heated
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
1 teaspoon minced or ground fresh rosemary
1/3 cup creme fraiche
Hot water
White truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil, 
Garnish: feta cheese and fresh greek oregano, fresh mint, or flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, leek/shallots, carrots, celery, and bacon. Season with kosher salt & cracked black pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are just carmelized. 

Add garlic, cook. Add wine and reduce until the wine is cooked and mixture thickens. 

Add beans, add chicken stock, chopped thyme and rosemary. Reseason with kosher salt & cracked black pepper.

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until beans begin to break down, stirring occasionally.

Reserve 1 cup beans from soup, working in batches, puree soup until smooth in blender set to low speed. Return soup & reserved beans to pot. Reduce heat to low. Stir in creme fraiche. Do not allow to boil. Add hot water to thin soup, if desired.

Finish seasoning with kosher salt & cracked black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese on top of soup. Lightly drizzle top with white truffle oil or very high quality olive oil. Garnish with chopped flat leafed parsley, fresh greek oregano, or fresh mint.

Serve with seasoned baugette croutons. Makes 8 First Course servings.