As promised: Spanish White Bean Soup

October 13, 2007

In my Friday Fruits and Veggies post earlier today I promised the following recipe for my Spanish White Bean Soup. It is adapted (my notes in italics) from a Sara Moulton classic.

Spanish White Bean Soup

first and foremost, allow two hours to cook the beans. if you don’t anticipate this process you’ll never get the soup in time for dinner. i tend to make it a day ahead because of this lengthy step. i will admit however, that i’ve made it along side dinner and ate a small portion of the soup as a side as soon as it is finished. it is, however ans thakfully, much better heated up the day after preparation. also be advised that you’ll need two pans – a stock pot and a large fry pan.

1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern, rinsed and picked over

8 1/2 cups chicken stock, (preferably homemade) (buy at least three boxes of stock, 4 cups each. i find i always need to add some at the end to push it from the edge of stewdom)

1 bay leaf, preferably Turkish

Kosher salt

Pinch saffron threads (this is expensive but, i’ve found, important. if you can’t afford the saffron, by all means, skip it. if you can, add a solid pinch the first time you make it and hold back on subsiquent trys to get your peronal balance between expense and flavor)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 Spanish chorizo sausages, about 3/4 pound, cut into 1/2-inch dice (i’ve also used spicy/hot italian sausage. cut half into pieces with casing and cut half out of the casing and mash it into a crumble. this provides the proper texture)

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large red bell pepper, finely diced (i’ve used green pepper and other veggies i have laying around. what good is a soup if you can’t get rid of all the old stuff in the fridge?)

1 tablespoon sweet paprika (or more to taste)

1 small bunch kale, about 3/4 pound, tough stems removed, washed well, and coarsely chopped (here you can use anything, literally. i’ve reached for spinach, chard, escarole, anything green and leafy will do.)

Freshly ground black pepper

Sherry vinegar, to taste (any vinegar will do as this is simply a garnish. i would stick to something semi clear, however – red wine, apple cider, white balsamic, etc.)

Place the beans in a large pot or soup kettle (the bigger the better). Pour in 8 cups of the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Cook, partially covered, stirring often and adjusting the heat to keep it at a slow steady simmer, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours (or more. be prepared to baby the beans.). Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Soak the saffron in the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo (or sausage) and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.

Add the onion; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the red pepper and the paprika. Cook for 2 minutes longer, (i find these steps to take longer than the recipe suggests. you want to make sure that the veggies are cooked to beyond recognition. the soup is chunky enough as it is with the meat, beans and greens.) then transfer the contents of the skillet to the bean pot.

Stir in the saffron with the soaking liquid, the chorizo, and the kale. (at this point you will likely want to add more stock. much more stock. add as much as you think you want in your finished product.) Bring back to a simmer and cook just until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, (IF EATING NOW) stir in the vinegar, and serve hot in warmed soup bowls. If not eating now, store soup in the fridge and add vinegar to each bowl upon serving



One comment

  1. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: