This is an odd time of year for me as a cook – the days are shorter, market hours are changing and I invariably miss them between hunting season and running around with work and the final notes of the heaviest time of year for preserving. It’s nights like these that I need no-work and next-to-no ingredient “recipes.” I call them “recipes” because they are barely that – it would probably be more fair to call them “inspirations.”
Tonight we had dry beans, water, olive oil and a bunch of sub-par root vegetables (celeriac, onions that were growing ears, a scrunchy hot pepper left in the fridge, shriveled potatoes and wrinkly garlic). We didn’t have broth and everything was just kind of limp. Have no fear – there’s a kick butt soup in those parts – here’s it in-process:
I added some herbes salees (from our fridge) to the ‘not-so-fresh-vegetables’, sliced everything thin and measured two big cups of beans (they become part of the broth). Season with salt and pepper and boil until the beans are soft (I started by adding twice the volume of water than beans but had to add some as I went).
When everything is soft, puree (use a stick-blender or a food processor) and add water to the desired taste/ consistency. Finish off by seasoning with salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil.
You may not win a soup contest but it’s a delightful meal that takes virtually no work (although it can take an hour or slightly more to cook the beans) and is plenty flavorful!
Looking to kick it up a notch? Here’s a few other ideas:
- Add a small pit of vinegar (or pickled peppers/ carrots/ beans/ asparagus) to add a bit of a zing (you shouldn’t be able to detect the vinegar but adding it was one of my major lessons in 2011).
- Pickle brine (from any type of pickles) can be substituted for vinegar.
- Add leftover cheese as you serve it.
- Add other dairy items – sour cream, cream, yogurt or even buttermilk at time of serving or blending.
- Add dehydrated vegetable powders (especially if you don’t have a lot of different types of vegetables) as you cook.
- Canned tomatoes are also very nice (add just before blending).
- You can cook some beans separately and add them after blending for a different texture.
What do you add to a fall soup?