Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A New (Creamy, Smooth) Beans & Greens Soup

Last winter, I made a fabulous, easy "beans & greens" soup. Yesterday I made up another version that might have even been better. Well, maybe not better, but it was enjoyed by everyone in our family and I am thinking it was due to the last step, when I blended the soup into a creamy puree. I had green soup on my mind when I did my marketing the day before. I think it was last weekend when I read an article about one woman's venture into satisfying green soups. (I'll have to dig up the article...) We all know leafy greens are good for us. And when the weather turns brisk and drizzly there's nothing more satisfying than soup. I like soups, my kids don't love them. My motive for coming up with a health and protein-packed soup that they actually like stems from the fact that both kids have already missed a day of school because they were sick. After a summer of chicken nuggets and other junk from snack bars, it's time to get back to nourishing meals when we're at home.

The "recipe" (if you can even call it that, because it's so simple):

A New Beans & Greens Soup
(makes a giant pot, at least 12 servings)

1 lb dried navy beans, soaked*
8 cubes Rapunzel brand vegetable bouillon
16 cups of water
2 T frozen garlic, or a few cloves (minced)
22 oz (two large boxes) kale or other leafy greens**
optional: chicken sausages, sliced (see my notes at the bottom photo)

Bring the water, bouillon cubes and garlic to a boil. Add soaked beans and cook over a medium simmer until the beans are tender (about 1 hour). During the last few minutes of cooking, add the leafy greens and cover. Let the greens wilt and stir them into the soup.

The soup is done, your kitchen will smell fabulous and you can sit down and enjoy the soup as is-- very chunky. Or, as you'll see in the photos below, you can blend it until smooth. You can either do so using an immersion blender (which I don't have), or you can let it cool down and run it through a regular blender, until desired consistency. This soup freezes beautifully, so making a big pot and setting some aside for a busy night is ideal.

*I quick soaked the beans, because I had not planned ahead to make soup. The method for quick soaking beans is to bring 1lb of beans to a boil for 2 minutes, in 10 cups of plain water. Then turn the burner off, cover the pot, and let the beans soak for 10 minutes. Drain and proceed as you would with beans soaked overnight.

** Our local Whole Foods has many convenient packages of greens these days. Yes, they cost more. But....if their convenience encourages you to use them in your cooking, then I think they're worth it!

I first served the soup to the kids as is, plus I added some whole wheat rotini I had leftover in the fridge to their bowls before heating them. My little one had a hard time getting the soup from bowl to mouth without in slopping everywhere and dribbling down his chin...

I enjoyed the texture and the individual tastes of the beans and kale. But, I did wonder what it would be like pureed...

So, the next meal, I popped it into the blender...

and whizzed it around using the pulse function, stopping at this point to check and see if they wanted it a bit chunky still? Nope. They wanted it smooth.

So, this is where we ended up, and all four of us enjoyed it. I had my bowl vegetarian, or as is. For the kids and my husband, I added a few cooked chicken sausages when blending the soup. They loved this addition. It gave the soup even more bulk, protein from the chicken and a nice smokey flavor.

2 comments:

  1. I wonder if that article is the same one I read recently! It was either in Mother Earth News (I think that's where it was) or possibly Organic Gardening. I loved the article, and so I bought the whole cookbook she referenced. It's called "Love Soup" by Anna Thomas, the same woman who wrote The Vegetarian Epicure about 40 or so years ago. I love this book!!! I've only made her basic green soup, but I loved it. I can't wait to make a bunch more recipes, there are so many that sound delicious. You should get it and then make a bunch of the recipes and then tell us which ones you like- in all your spare time. (-:

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  2. Loren! I found the article. Mine was from Eating Well..will try to locate an online link.

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