My husband D likes to call my food one-offers since I do not use recipes unless cooking very unusual food. Some would say I can do this because I am a good cook, but the truth is that recipes make me terribly anxious. I go back and forth between the recipe and my bowl or pan, double and triple checking. Makes me nervous just to think about it. So, coming up with recipes for what I do is a big stretch, but probably good for me. You know doing things in a new way develops neurons and staves off Alzheimer's Disease. So here we go. Drum roll please......the bean of the week is Great Northern Beans.........a bean with "great" in the title deserves a drum roll don't you think. I have enjoyed this bean since I was a kid. This is the bean of beans. Cook it a little longer and gets just a bit softer releasing some starchiness to the dish, yet still holding its integrity. It is truly Grace Under Fire. In continuing my bean resolution, I got out the crock and 2 pounds of this glorious bean without a plan for what I wanted to make with it. Then, the weather cooled down and we are in week 2 of the family illness with ongoing lack of sleep. The answer of course to all the questions and problems is soothing soup. I made a re-do of a soup that I made for a family gathering/game night last winter, but this time wrote down how I did it....yes, I can be a bit of procrastinator. So, I soaked the beans in crock for 8 hours (actually in a bowl because I was making yogurt in my large crock; more on that later) and then cooked the beans in crock over night. Then, I began my soup about 1.5 hours before I wanted to eat it.
4 Tablespoons butter
4 medium or 5 large carrots diced
4 ribs of celery diced
1 1/2 large onions diced
all celery leaves from the bunch chopped (trust me these are good)
6 cloves of garlic minced
3 shallots diced
4 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 Tablespoons Herbs De Provence
2 teaspoons garlic powder (not a typo, two types of garlic early adds depth of overall flavor and adds more garlic yumm without overpowering which would happen if using only one type)
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds of Great Northern Beans cooked with cooking liquid
Melt butter in large soup pot over medium heat. Once you see the white foamy stuff called butter solids it is ready to cook. Add carrots, celery, and onion and do whats called sweating, which means cooking until they get tender, but not soft and onion begins to get translucent. Add celery leaves, garlic, and shallot. Saute for one minute more and then add the flour and all herbs, cooking until the flour becomes golden. At this point you could deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of white wine you like. With Mr. B, I'd rather not cook with wine at this point, so I omitted it. Now add beans and all cooking liquid. If you want it less beany, add 3/4 of beans which would be 1 1/2 pounds and all cooking liquid. The remainder is about 4 cups and perfect amount to freeze for incorporation in a later meal (I freeze food staples like beans, rice, pilaf, risotto ahead to make easy meals, but never freeze pasta). You have a choice to make now regarding soup thickness. Left alone it is a thick stew type soup. If you want it more soupy simply add ready to go vegetarian stock until you reach consistency that you like. Cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. Enjoy!!! We had it with homemade sourdough bread and butter (of course butter, my mama taught me well), and a salad. Mr. B LOVED it first and second time he had it.
Sorry no pictures of this one, the camera batteries were completely dead...but trust me a creamy tan bean soup with flecks of light green and orange is very appealing...Soups on!!!