Easy Bean Soup
While I’m busy compiling my next project for Sigrun’s Sustainable Kitchen (the research takes the longest), I would like to delight you with another creation from my friend and guest contributor Renate. It really sounds utterly delicious, and both filling and comforting on a cold winter night. The only reason I have not yet tried this recipe for myself? I never, and I mean never, remember to soak the beans 24 hours ahead of time. But I’m getting better — thanks to Siri, who is patiently setting one reminder after another for me to keep me on track and organized. Soon Siri will make my morning coffee for me and I’ll be more efficient than ever.
This bean soup is perfect for budding home cooks who have to watch their budget. You can create a big hunking pot of soup to feed the multitudes for under $10. It is also easy to digest thanks to the fennel seed and vinegar. It is Gluten free and the creaminess comes solely from the beanstarch. It’s comfort food at its best: yummy, healthy, easy to make and cheap. Serve with a slice of bread or a buttered biscuit.
All you need is time, really, and a big pot. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon project and doesn’t require any supervision.
Yield: 10+ servings
Prep time: 24 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total time: 27 hours (largely unattended)
1 one-pound bag of northern white beans
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
remainder of bean water
4-5 medium sized potatoes
4-5 medium sized carrots
4 pints vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seed
2-3 cloves (optional)
2-3 juniper berries (optional)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
fresh ground pepper to taste
How is this sustainable ?
All the vegetables in this recipe can be sourced locally and organically, and this vegan recipe has a low carbon footprint.
- Empty beans into a large bowl, cover it generously with water (at least twice as much water to beans) and cover. Set aside to soak for at least 24 hours. You will see the beans expanding and soaking up the liquid. There should not be much water left after the soaking completes.
- Do not skimp on step 1 — soaking is really important! Now you are ready to begin in earnest.
- Finely dice onion and garlic.
- Using a large soup or stock pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and then saute the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until they are translucent and soft. Not too hot, or they’ll just char and not cook.
- Add the beans with the remaining water to the pot and stir to cover.
- Cover the pot and give the beans a head start on cooking.
- Peel, then dice potatoes and carrots into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Add vegetables to pot.
- Add vegetable broth, bay leaves, fennel seed, cloves, and juniper berries and bring to a gentle boil. (If you are using low sodium broth, you may want to add a couple of teaspoons salt).
- Keeping the soup covered, let it cook for at least 2 hours, preferably longer, until all the beans are thoroughly cooked and soft.
- Use a potato masher to break up the beans and vegetables to create an almost creamy but chunky bean soup. If you prefer a creamier soup, you can also use an immersion (stick) blender.
- Lastly, add vinegar and pepper, adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot.
PS: Don’t forget to fish out the bay leaves before serving. J