Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 14: Lima Bean and Winter Vegetable Soup

My mom used to make Lima Bean soup when I was a kid.  A nice thick soup with bits of salty pork -- it was one of my favorites.  But it was a bit bland.  Okay, it was really bland.  We'd pour ketchup on top, and stir it in for more flavor, I thought it was great.  Of course when I was a kid I loved Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Kraft Mac N Cheese, and Chef Boyardee's pizza.  Okay, I admit -- I still like all of those things (except the pizza in a box) and eat them from time to time.

The ingredients for Lima Bean and Winter Vegetable Soup in The Greens Cook Book sounded so good.  I think just the vegetables would make a fantastic soup all on their own.  For the stock I used the bean cooking liquid, adding 1 cup of vegetable stock (I use Wolfgang Puck's) to make the 6 1/2 cups of stock.  The directions promised the soup would taste better after a day or two.  I made  the soup this morning hoping to give it some time for the flavors to develop, and it was delicious.  Full of texture and flavor -- this was definitely not my mom's Lima Bean soup.

Lima Bean and Winter Vegetable Soup
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  4 to 6 servings

The Stock:
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.

The Soup:
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
Parmesan (optional)

     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!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it was delicious, and I am not necessarily a fan of the beans or even of some of the root vegies that were in the soup. It made a great meal, especially with some of the home-made bread that was left over from yesterday's meal. So, I think I lost track of the 50 days... what day is this? Guess that's the question I ask every morning when the alarm clock sounds!