Recipe


Butter Bean Soup

Sunday, January 01, 2012

In our house when the weather turns cold there is one dish that gets more requests than any other: bean soup. And of all the bean soups, this is my personal favorite. The "butter" in the name is not a separate ingredient, but a description of the rich creaminess and pale color of these large, yellow limas. A meal all by itself, this soup becomes a feast when mised with crusty bread and a little green salad.

This recipe may seem a little fussy. When I was a kid I watched this being prepared with nothing more than some water, some bacon grease, and dried herbs out of a year-old bottle. And it was good. But this is better, because it follows the only rule that must be followed with soup: if it doesn't add flavor, it doesn't go in. When I first starting cooking I thought of soup as water with stuff in it. Once I realized that soup is something else entirely, a kind of alchemy in which flavors are combined, concentrated, and transmogrified into superfood, I began to make soup.

So, broth instead of water. Vegetables sautéed to carmelize the sugars and release the aromatics, and the sauté pan deglazed with a splash of wine. If you don't have pork stock (easy to make; get neck bones from the grocer) you can buy ham stock on the soup aisle. You can also finish this soup (after the hot break—see recipe) in a crock-pot.

But really, this is dead easy. The hardest part is remembering the night before to put on the beans to soak. After that, just remember that the beans need to simmer until they break down, forming a rich, creamy base, like a thin paste. If this isn't happening after a couple of hours of simmering, add just a pinch more baking soda. If it gets too thick (it will get steadily thicker the longer it cooks) thin with a little water. When finished the soup will be thick but silky.

Butter Bean Soup

12

ounces

large lima beans, dried

1

whole

carrot, chopped

1

stalk

celery, chopped

1/3

whole

onion, chopped

1

cup

pork broth

1

cup

vegetable broth

1/2

cup

water

1

tsp

thyme

1

tsp

sage, chopped

1/8

tsp

salt

2

tbs

olive oil

1

whole

ham hock

1

oz

white wine

1/4

tsp

baking soda

1

Wash beans and soak overnight in clean water. Rinse and place in large sauce pan with broth, water, and salt, bring to boil. Watch beans carefully until hot-break is achieved. They will boil over if not watched and stirred. When the foam suddenly rises that is the hot-break; stir them down, lower the heat to simmer, stir in soda, and add the ham hock.

2

In a separate pan, cook the onions in the olive oil until golden over a medium heat. Increase the heat to high medium and add the celery, carrots, and herbs. Brown lightly and then deglaze with the white wine.

3

Add vegetables to the beans and stock. Simmer until beans are melty and desired consistency is achieved, at least 2 1/2 hours.

4

Remove hock, de-bone and finely chop the meat. Return meat to soup.

5

Serve soup in wide bowls with a dash of freshly ground pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Servings: 4

Yield: 4 cups

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 hours

Inactive Time: 3 1/2 hours

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (9.9 ounces).

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

Calories

375.33

Calories From Fat (25%)

93.74

% Daily Value

Total Fat 10.57g

16%

Saturated Fat 2.08g

10%

Cholesterol 8.06mg

3%

Sodium 847.16mg

35%

Potassium 1413.35mg

40%

Total Carbohydrates 52.06g

17%

Fiber 14.26g

57%

Sugar 7.01g

 

Protein 18.56g

37%

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finis