Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Soup for Supper
There comes a time every holiday season when I just can't eat another French Truffle. No more Brie, no St. Andre Triple Cream cheese, no rib roast, no cake or pie. I just can't take another bite. That's the time when we make soup. It is super cold this week, and cold weather gives me soup cravings. In our household soup is a forbidden fruit: our daughter actively dislikes soup, and complains loudly whenever we have it. So Mr. Hunting Creek and I have to plan our soup for when she is not eating with us. This gives our soup suppers an appealing air of intrigue. Very seldom has bean soup been seen as a controlled substance, but around here, we have to sneak it.
I usually keep a package of dried beans on hand for soup purposes. You never know when you'll be able to make it! I did the quick soak method, (cover beans with cold water, bring to a boil, let sit for an hour...in this case a couple hours, because I forgot about them, but no matter). Now I'm not going to nag you about this, but whenever I cook dried beans, half of the time I sort through and find a teeny tiny rock or dirt clod. I always rinse them off and then proceed with soaking.
Here's how Mr. Hunting Creek and I made our:
Forbidden Bean Soup
1 lb. navy beans, sorted and soaked
3 tablespoons olive oil (or you could use butter, or vegetable oil.)
3 chopped onions
about half a cup of chopped celery (if you don't have any you could leave it out)
4 chopped carrots
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
8 cups of water
1 ham bone with some meat on it, or a couple ham hocks
1 teaspoon thyme (or your favorite soup herb - maybe oregano or marjoram would be nice here)
A Bay leaf is nice if you have one
(We baked a ham last week, since I wanted to make a big batch of ham salad for my sister for a present She loves ham salad. (I also made a loaf of bread and gave them both to her for Christmas. she was delighted). So I had a ham bone available. If you have a ham bone but don't feel like making soup, zip it in a plastic bag and stash it in the freezer for later, when you have time.)
In a large pan, saute your onions, celery, carrots in the oil until soft. About 15 minutes - then add the garlic, drained beans, water, ham bone, and thyme and bay leaf. Don't add salt yet.
Simmer for about two or three hours, or until beans are cooked. You will keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. I don't know if this does anything, but it make me feel better. Sometimes I add a little more water. After the two/three hours, when the beans are cooked, take the ham bone out, let it cool off, then cut off the meat and put the meat back in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Normally Virginia ham is so salty already that the soup doesn't need much more. I like it peppery, so I always add pepper. Serve with bread and salad.
I made popovers to go with our soup. I had never made them before, but I read about popovers on the King Arthur Flour baking blog, so I wanted to make them. I followed instructions and they came out perfectly on the first try. Mr. Hunting Creek was very impressed. I think he ate four of them. Then I had a clementine for dessert; Mr. Hunting Creek had cookies and ice cream.
I'd have soup every night if I could, but these darn kids won't let me (but they will go out with friends on New Year's Eve, so maybe I can sneak some more in!)
Is it time to make soup at your house?