Are you my Mommy?

Are you my Mommy?
Are you my Mommy?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Amazing Bean Rescue

Once upon a time, I made a resolution to cook a bean per week now that I knew the secret to easy crockpot bean cooking.  During my jolly walk through the fairy woods adventure, I came upon an ogre lupini beans who demanded I solve a riddle to continue on my journey that sat quietly and demurely on the shelf of the Italian grocery singing a siren song.  Long story short, I now know why my Italian grandmother never mentioned this bean. 
I was really excited to find a new bean for Mr. B and the entire family to try.  Surrounded by all the illness of late, soup has been primarily on my mind starting with Provencial White Bean Soup and continuing to thawing last night the last bit of last winter's chili making orgy...a moment of silence please for my loss here.  After looking at what I had on hand, I excitedly decided to make Lupini bean, spinach, onion soup in a brothy medium.  Getting excited?  The vitamin C in onion helps you absorb the iron in spinach.  A squeeze of fresh lemon when serving the soup would work great too, but instead I added chiffoned (aka finely sliced) sorrel from my garden which is yummy and lemony and so healthy and pairs so well with spinach and white beans.  oh you are wondering why I switched bean variety.  Let me explain my sad story.

For the sake of family illness, I sacrificed a green ideal and did a quick soak with the Lupini by bringing to a boil for a few minutes on my stovetop and leaving to sit.  After they appeared to swell to about double the size, I took a taste so that I could begin to imagine my seasoning choices....ahhhh yuck, ooooo gross....bitter, bitter, bitter.  In my half slept state, I began to worry they were somehow inedible in the way that makes inner organs explode (I have an amazing imagination....did I ever mention my fantasies of my infant as a superhero....moving on).  I decided to literally put them on the back burner and do some research.  Turns out you have to cook these in normal bean fashion and then soak again for 10-14 days, yep no typo there.  You cover them in water, leave in refrigerator and change water daily until they no longer taste bitter. Then, you salt water and leave in refrigerator until ready to eat.  So, no lupini tonight, Einstein silly compromising mother.  I love to freeze already cooked beans in my deep freeze and luckily some ordinary white beans came to my rescue.  In the end our soup was approximately the following.

5 sliced small onions sauteed in olive oil with 5 cloves of garlic minced and 5 shallots chopped
add large amount of baby spinach and one bunch of sorrel finely sliced and enough vege broth to cover by 2/3 as greens will cook down and more broth can always be added.  Throw in defrosted white beans.  Season to taste with pepper medley freshly ground, salt, freshly ground fennel (I keep it on the counter...another love of my life), and garlic powder. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon, crusty sourdough bread, and a bit of fontina or provolone.  A complete meal and not difficult at all, especially compared to the lupini still sitting on my stove.  I may blog about those.

The Problem: Enticing beans that take 14 days longer than you have to prepare dinner, a sick kiddo, and a hungry family. 

The Compromise:  Using a bit of my precious store of deep freezer beans and wasting stove top gas to quick soak beans that need 2 weeks prep....the Irony just can't be missed here.

The Sweet Reward: A new soup "recipe" (I like to think of cooking style as more method than recipe, but I do try to create recipes for the benefit of others when possible) that everyone loved including 15 month old Mr. B

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