I made soup this week and last with fresh legumes from the Farmer’s Market: one with fresh Pink Eye’d Peas and one with fresh Cannelini beans (both from Weiser Family Farms, grower of perfect potatoes and interesting varieties of other vegetables). Since they were fresh, the peas/beans didn’t require pre-soaking or much cooking. I decided to put together a BASIC recipe that you can alter to your taste and to accommodate what’s on hand. The bacon is optional, but it does add a nice flavor without featuring meat (use non nitrate, of course). Hopefully, it will inspire!
THE FAT (2 – 3 tablespoons)
3 slices bacon, or 4 oz. pancetta (optional)
1 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
THE MIREPOIX (2 – 3 cups)
and/or parsnip/turnip/sweet potato/squash
2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
FLAVORINGS (choose one or two of these)
Dried Spices: smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, dill, etc.
Herb garni bouquet (fresh thyme/rosemary/marjoram/bay leaves/sage/oregano tied with string)
Smoked or dried chili peppers (remove seeds to reduce heat)
THE LIQUID (3 – 6 cups, mix and match)
vegetable or chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
wine (no more than 1 cup, best added to thin)
1 lb. pods of fresh field peas or beans, shelled & rinsed (about 2 cups)
2 cups cooked beans of choice
OTHER VEGETABLES (2 – 6 cups)
Greens (Kale, chard, spinach), roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper
Lemon or lime juice
GARNISH (combine below and/or be creative)
Toasted nuts or seeds
Plain yogurt or sour cream
Grated parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh soft herbs (parsley, basil, leaves of thyme)
In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot, cook the bacon if using. You can remove the bacon and use as a garnish later, or leave in the pot. Add olive oil to supplement bacon fat, or if not using bacon, heat oil over medium heat.
Cook Mirepoix until onions are softened, adding any desired dried spices. Add garlic and cook another minute. (A splash of wine can be used to deglaze browned bits from bottom of pot.)
Add 3 – 4 cups of desired liquid and beans. If using fresh beans, can add potatoes at this point as well. Bring to a boil, then simmer until beans and vegetables are soft but not mushy. Add greens and cook until wilted. Remove bouquet garni, parmesan rind and/or dried pepper. Taste and add salt & pepper, and/or other final flavors and serve topped with garnish, or with bowls of garnish to pass. Serves 8 – 10. Freezes well.
Print version of BEAN & VEG SOUP W_BACON