Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar Vortex Bean Soup

Just a good excuse to stay inside and keep warm by the stove when the temperature outside is is -2


Soak Time: 24-48 hours
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 1/2 hours
Yield: Enough soup to last until Groundhog's Days 



1 29-oz. package dried bean soup (such as Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix)
3 Tbsp. olive oil 
3 medium onions, diced (about 4 cups)
4 medium carrots, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 ribs celery, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3 quarts chicken stock
1 cured and smoked pork knuckle (see below)
2 fresh bay leaves
3 springs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
6 springs parsley, leaves removed and set aside

When the warnings of a potential winter storm or polar vortex begin scrolling across the television or 24-48 hours before beginning to cook, soak beans in warm water. Place beans in large pot and cover with water. Change water every 4-5 hours (except while sleeping) and add 1/4 tsp. baking soda to water if cooking with 'hard water.'*

Drain and rinse beans, set aside. In a large - really large, soup pot heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper, saute 4-5 minutes until vegetables have soften.  Stir in white wine and reduce, about 2 minutes. Add beans, chicken stock and pork knuckle to pot.

Create a modified bouquet garni. Using butchers twine, tie together bay leaves,  thyme, rosemary and parsley stems. Place herbs in soup, bring all ingredients to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, about 4 hours.

To serve: remove herbs and pork knuckles. Place 2 cups of soup in food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in reserved parsley leaves and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.


*Hard water, huh? - Have trouble lathering up the suds when washing? Chances are the water contains mineral salts that interfere with the formation suds - thus creating 'hard water.' (source)

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Tips for Better Bean Digestion: 

* Soak for at least 48 hours
* Soak in warm Alkaline water (120 - 148°F is optimal)
* Change water often
* Don't rush - cooking long and slow, allowing more time for the hard to digest fibers to break down

Still have beans on the brain? Check out THIS Foodie-Geek friendly article

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A Prized Pork Knuckle - an often overlooked delicious part of the pig