Lima Bean and Winter Vegetable Soup
The Greens Cook Book
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Use the cooking liquid from the beans combined with extra water if necessary. Or make the Winter Vegetable Stock (page 65), using a cup of the cabbage leaves, sliced and stewed, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, and the stems from the mushrooms.
1 cup dry Lima beans
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch squares
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
1 small fennel bulb, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
One 4 ounce turnip or rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch squares
4 ounces mushrooms, stems removed, caps roughly chopped
6 1/2 cups stock or bean broth
Fresh Herbs: marjoram, thyme, fennel greens, parsley, or a mixture, finely chopped, for garnish
Rinse the beans well, cover them generously with water, and let them soak 6 hours or overnight; or cover them with boiling water and soak 1 hour. Pour off the soaking water and put the beans in a pot with the 8 cups water, the bay leaf, and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Bring to a boil, add 1 tsp salt, lower the heat, and simmer slowly until the beans are nearly tender. (They will continue cooking in the soup.) Remove any of the skins that have become detached and have floated to the surface. Drain the beans and set them aside. Save the broth to use in the soup, or for another purpose.
Use a large soup pot with a heavy bottom, melt the butter and the remaining 1 tbsp oil, and add the onion. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally at first, and more frequently later, until the onion is a rich, dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, the nutritional yeast, if using, and the dried herbs and garlic, and cook together for a minute. Pour in the wine, reduce by half, then add all the vegetables and 1/2 cup stock or bean broth. Cover, and stew slowly for 10 minutes; then add 6 more cups liquid. Simmer 15 minutes, add the beans, and cook another 15 minutes.
Taste the soup and season with additional salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a garnish of fresh herbs and, if desired, grated Parmesan.
This soup will taste even better a day or two after its made, when the flavors have more thoroughly developed and merged. Served with an honest piece of bread, it makes a wholesome meal.
The soup was really delicious. I didn't have to ask Paul what he thought -- he scarfed down three bowls!
Tomorrow night it's Orzo and Peas with Lemon-Herb Sauce
Update: The book did not lie! I had soup for the next two lunches, and let me tell you it DID get better with age. I just finished the last of the soup (with a sprinkle of Parmesan on top, and a toasted cheese sandwich on some potato bread I made), and it was fabulous!