Beans

Creamy White Bean Soup

Creamy White Bean Soup

Sometimes I just look at the picture of a recipe or read the ingredients and think, “I want to eat that!”

Such was the case with the recipe that inspired this soup, when it arrived in my email inbox from Saveur magazine. It’s been cold here in Florida—finally!—and when I saw that soup, I got up from my desk and put the beans on to soak.

I have been subscribing to Saveur magazine for years—since the very first issue, I think. I love this magazine because it’s about traditional cuisine, the dishes that people create from the food found in the places where they live, which have evolved into a cuisine of place. They travel the world to find these local cuisines, and they inspire me.

This soup is a traditional Italian white bean soup. The original recipe that came in my email included fennel seeds in the soup and sautéed broccoli raab with garlic and red pepper flakes on top.

But I was interested in the bean soup itself, which I immediately saw as a gluten-free, dairy-free creamy base to which could be added any proteins, vegetables, and seasonings.

But I’ll tell you, the soup itself is just delicious.

I made a few tweaks to suit my taste, so it’s no longer authentic, but it’s true to me. And you can make it true to you in whatever way you please.

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Crispy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

roasted_chickpeas

 

I’ve known about roasted chickpeas for a while and tried a few methods for making them. None worked well until this one.

I had to immediately share it with you because roasted chickpeas taste so good! They have all the crunch of chips, but are healthy to eat. It’s just chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), coconut oil, and seasoning. And they are an easily transportable snack.

These taste so much better than the ones you buy in a bag, and cost less too.

They are super easy to make.

I’m giving you the basic instructions in the recipe, with just “seasoning” as an ingredient. At a minimum you should sprinkle with your favorite salt, to taste. I used a spice blend from Minnesota Nice Spice on my test recipe and it was delicious! I’m sitting here eating them for lunch as I write this! But you can use any of your favorite herbs and spices, individually or together.

This recipe calls for cooked chickpeas, but it’s not difficult to cook them yourself.

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Chickpea Mush

chickpea_mush
Chickpea Mush with organic grassfed butter,
raw organic parmesan cheese, organic roasted tomatoes and red pepper flakes.

 

I’ve actually been waiting months for it to be autumn so I could give this to you in season. I love this so much and eat it so often and in so many variations that I know the recipe by heart.

It gives you a nice warm full tummy, like oatmeal, but it’s full of protein instead of carbs. You can make it savory or sweet and eat if for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.

This is simply chickpea (garbanzo) flour, salt, and water, cooked into what my family called a “mush” and Goldilocks called “porridge.” It’s very much like the Italian polenta—which is made from corn—but this is made with chickpeas. It’s not as sweet as corn polenta, but it can be used in place of polenta in pretty much any polenta recipe.

51EDYO-4KLL._SL250_In the photo, I topped the chickpea mush with organic grassfed butter, raw organic parmesan cheese, organic roasted tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and ate that very bowl for lunch.

Today I just want to tell you this exists and how to make it, but then I will have more recipes that use this for you over the autumn and winter.

You should be able to find “garbanzo bean flour” at any natural food store or order from amazon for the best price.

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Pumpkin Hummus

Hummus is an ancient Middle Eastern mash, traditionally made with garbanzo beans, ground sesame seeds and olive oil.

Today many other ingredients are added to hummus to give a variety of flavors to this staple food.

The other day I made some roast carnival squash and had some cooked garbanzo beans, and thought I would try the two together. Delicious! Autumn in a bowl.

Here’s how I made it.

Of course, all ingredients should be organically-grown.

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How to Cook Beans

Beans are one of the staples of my diet. I just find that when I eat a small amount (about 1/2 cup) every day, everything goes better in my body. They provide fiber for digestion, balance blood sugar, provide protein, and are healthy in many other ways.

I cook a pot of beans every week. I rotate types so I don't get bored: garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, canellini beans, adzuki beans…each one is delicious in it's own way. I'm learning how to prepare each one in ways that are traditional and creative.

I recommend that you NOT buy canned beans, with the exception of Eden Foods brand, which uses cans with BPA-free linings. You don't want to get a dose of BPA with your beans, which disrupts your endocrine system.

Preparing your own beans at home is simple and rewarding, and they taste much better than canned beans. Though it takes time, you can do it in three easy steps.

1. Soak your beans overnight. Just put them to soak after dinner or before you go to bed. Six to twelve hours is fine.

I use 2 cups dry beans. That makes enough for one person to eat about 1/2 cup cooked beans every day for a week. But you can use any amount of beans you want.

Soaking your beans before cooking greatly improves digestibility.

Be sure to use pure, filtered water for soaking, so the beans do not absorb water pollutants.

Put the beans in a large bowl and cover them with several inches of water. After you do this a few times, you will begin to understand how much water is needed. I have, in the past, not used enough water, and the water was completely absorbed in the morning. Use plenty of water.

This is what the beans look like in the morning when you wake up. They are plump and about twice the size.

2. Rinse your beans thoroughly.

I just pour them from the bowl into a colander, then spray fresh water over them to rinse off all the soaking water. This removes the elements that cause gas.

These are my bean pots. Obviously I use them because they have that beautiful patina that develops on natural materials as they are used. These pots are made with natural hand-thrown unglazed terracotta clay. I tried cooking beans in pots made from various materials, and found that each material produced a different flavor in the beans. These pots gave the flavor that was most to my liking. They are from Miriam's Earthen Cookware.. The terracotta clay is composed of minerals such as calcium, magnesium potassium, and others that are essential to our bodies. The clay comes from deep underground and is tested to be free of heavy metals.
 
3. Put the beans in the pot and cover them with cold pure water. Put your finger in the pot, touching the beans with your fingertip. The water should come up to your knuckle.
 
Put the pot of beans into a cold oven and turn the temperature to 300 degrees F.
 
Then let them bake for about six hours. You can also let them bake overnight. A couple more hours is fine.
 
When the beans are done, they look like this.
 
Let them sit on top of the stove and cool for several hours until all the heat has dissipated.
 
Then remove the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon or spider and put them in a glass jar.
 
Store them in the refrigerator.
 
They last up to a week in my refrigerator.

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