Pretty amazing that we are now in week 15 of the Dark Days Challenge, that means spring must be just around the bend! In keeping with a theme that seems to have sprung up among a good portion of the Dark Days bloggers, this weeks meal is once again focused on BEANS! Another bean soup to be exact. I know, I know I should be getting more creative with them and trying all sorts of other dishes. But when it comes right down to it, I love a big bowl of steaming soup or stew. It feels like home, it is an excellent way to use up other odds and ends you have knocking about in the fridge, and you automatically incorporate all of that beautiful ‘pot liquor’ from the simmered beans into your finished product.
The one potential downside to a nice rustic soup - is that the finished product likely will not have many redeeming visual qualities. This was definitely a meal where the sum of the parts did not at all equal the individual parts on an aesthetic scale. The beans soaking above are Peregion Beans. Once again purchased from Full Circle Farm at the West Seattle Farmers Market. From what I read, these are an heirloom bean originally from Oregon. I found them really striking with their black swirls and color variation.
After soaking the beans I set them to simmering with a bay leaf (snipped from the Bay Laurel in the backyard) and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic. The last quarter of an onion soon joined the beans and I prepped some previously frozen chinese broccoli, yellow carrots, butternut squash and sunchokes for adding when the beans were almost done.
I toasted a bit of cumin and coriander, ground them in my mortar and added them to the broth of chicken stock along with a bit of chinese 5 spice, tumeric, salt and pepper. The sunchokes lent an overall sweetness to the soup that I hadn’t quite expected, but it went well with the butternut squash and the spices balanced it nicely.
Local Ingredients - Homemade chicken stock, yellow carrots, chinese broccoli, peregion beans, onion, garlic, bay leaf, butternut squash, sunchokes.
Non-Local Ingredients - Salt, Pepper, Chinese 5 spice powder, tumeric, cumin, coriander.