Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Flageolet Bean Soup for a Winter's Day

The weather forecast here is rain for the next 10 days. I am thrilled! Rain, cold and winter are still here for the next four months. With that, this time of year can be slim pickins in the produce area at your local food store. I find myself thinking about the vine ripe tomatoes, cherries and peaches I miss when the cold weather is here. But the winter vegetables are hearty, satisfying and easy to prepare, so again and again I rethink soup recipes. With my husband preferring a vegetarian diet, we are meatless mondays now. Making a pot of soup on monday sets us up for having food for the first few days of the week when things are hectic. This morning I packed soup leftovers in a thermos for my lunch after yoga class. Easy is good.
So here is a very lovely, easy soup recipe made with flageolet beans. I asked our local fine food store to carry them (along with our coop and neighborhood market!) and what a happy surprise they did. I know I have spoke of flageolets before, but in case you forgot, they are heavily used in french cooking. They are delicate, immature kidney beans, and I find they have a wonderful buttery taste and texture. Very high in fiber and and protein. I use my pressure cooker to soak and cook the beans. Flageolets only take about 10 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker. I do however cook my flageolet bean soup for about 45 minutes. I "soak" them by cooking them for one minute in the pressure cooker and then rinsing them. Of course you can soak them overnight, or boil them for 10 minutes to prepare them for cooking. Their fast cooking times make them a great choice for family dinners.
I have switched over almost completely to dried beans. They are cheaper and I am actively trying to phase out all canned products in our household due to BPA in the linings of canned food. BPA is in the plastic liner that are in most cans of food. Consumer reports even found some BPA in cans not lined with BPA plastic. There is a link to the consumer reports study measuring BPA in common canned food.
Bob's Red Mill carries flageolet beans. And, I will tell you that I have noticed these beans to be a less "gassy" bean. That may be a personal issue however since some of my closest friens tolerate black beans well in their bellies, and I just cannot eat them without some major discomfort!
Well, here is a wonderful tasty, easy recipe. I try to substitute leeks for onions whenever I can. The richness from leeks carries this soup a long way. Along with a crusty piece of toasted sourdough with butter, I am deeply satisfied. If you make it, tell me what you think!

Flageolet bean soup

1 1/2 cups flageolet beans
3 large carrots diced
4 stalks celery diced
3-4 leeks trimmed and cleaned then thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
6 cups veggie stock
7 branches thyme
zest of 1 meyer lemon
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 bunch dino kale washed, dried and chopped fine
3 tbls olive oil

soak beans, then sautee leeks, beans, carrots, celery with olive oil for 10 minutes. Add thyme stalks, bay leaf, and veggie stock. Stir and then add lemon zest, kale and lemon juice. Cook for 1 hour in a normal pot, or 45 minutes in a pressure cooker.  Remove thyme stalks and bay leaf before serving. I love to top with a little pecorino romano or parmesean.
This soup gets better the next day!


Becky said...

That looks lovely. I am soup obsessed, so you have hit all the right notes with this post! I'll def. let you know if I get some flageolet beans to make this soup! It might take some searching here in Blahville, Illinois.

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pdxstacey said...

This soup is great! I made it for vegetarians, so I used veggie stock. I used the immersion blender for a smoother texture (I love using that thing). Also wanted more of a kick, so I made the kale lemon pesto and put about half in the soup, used a dot as garnish. I put a few sprinkles of hot pepper flakes in the pesto.

I would definitely make this again. I think it would be great with chicken sausage or grilled shrimp.

Jessica said...

love the vegetarian idea and the immersion blender for this. Glad to hear it worked out and next time I make it I will try your fantastic idea of the kale pesto with it! xoxox


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