Sunday, 21 April 2013

Soup Sunday: beans and bacon

You all know guilty pleaseures, right? Things we take great pleasure of but do not dare to confess them to anyone (especially in a food blog...) Tinned beans are one of the treats on my list (which, as you can imagine, is loooong)

Today beans were the star of the Soup Sunday test kitchen. But without the tomato sauce. Or tins. White beans are surprisingly versatile and lend themselves to many purposes. I have used them (among other things) to substitute some of the potatos in mash-requiring missions such as shepherd's pie. 

Today's soup is so easy it's virtually recipe-free. White bean is such a grateful ingredient - it provides such a perfect canvas for so many spices ad herbs. Especially when puréed, it has the earthiness that makes you immediately think of cumin and coriander seeds. As far as herbs go, rosemary and parsley would pair well with this. But because of that very earthiness, a dash of lemon juice (or some grated lemon zest) does wonders as it perks up and lifts the flavours.

Just like with any pulses it pays off to cook a big batch and then freeze them in suitable portions. Or you can buy ready-cooked ones. Those are available at least in ethnic stores specialized in Middle Eastern fare as pulses are widely used there. Unlike bacon used in this recipe. But let's face it - when has it ever made anything taste worse?

Obviously you could make this without bacon and using vegetable stock - I just always seem to reach for chicken stock when making soups...

For one:

1/2 smallish onion
the paste of 1 large, roasted garlic
(or more, depending on how much you like garlic)
appr. 2 dl chicken stock
1 tsp thyme (mine was dried)
1/3 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp (ok, 1 tbsp) chopped bacon
salt, pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in oil/ butter/ mix of those two. Add the beans and toss around for a bit. Then add the stock and cook until the beans are piping hot. Blizz in a blender until silky smooth - add more liquid if needed for desired consistency. Pour back into the pot and season (be careful with salt - especially if using bacon) and add the herb of your choice. Add the lemon zest (or juice) and serve.

Fry the bacon cubes in a pan. Start out with moderate heat to get to fat out which helps the bacon get so gloriously crispy without burning. Sprinkle on top of the soup and vrooom - in less than 10 minutes you have food on the table!

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