Thursday, January 29, 2009

French Farmers Soup

French Farmers Soup

I've noticed a lot of (well 2 anyway) of carrot cakes going around lately. I'm thinking of having a carrot cake throw-down of my own.
More about that later.....

I made some soup last night. Which I am submitting to, Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her "Souper Sundays" post.
I was trying to do 2 things at once time, and while that might work well for most things in a woman's life, multi-tasking is not my strong suit in the kitchen. Because I was also trying to get ready for my book club. So the pictures are hit and miss and of poor quality.
But the bookclub was great! They could all smell my "French Farmers Soup" and commented on it. Soups and cookies make your house smell so good.

I found French Farmers Soup in a magazine...Fine cooking Magazine, October/November 2007. It was included in the article "How to make Hearty bean & Vegetable soups" Without a recipe.
This article gives you a "method" for making a soup.
First of all, one must start with dried beans. So, you do need to include some soaking time in your plan. Soaking 6-12 hours is a standard for most dry beans.
I soaked mine all day on Tuesday, cooked them Tuesday night and refrigerated them. (I thought Wednesday would be a snap and I would be able to get them out in no time while getting ready for my bookclub. And if truth be told, it wasn't that hard. I just didn't get good photos because I was busy making a cheese and fruit and bread tray for the bookclub)

So, I soaked the beans
cooked the beans (with garlic and a bay leaf)

then the article told me to "create" a flavor foundation. and it gave me choices
for the meat: bacon, pancetta, smoked sausage, Italian sausage
for the aromatics: celery, leeks, onions, shallots
seasonings: too many to chose from

Then veggie choices: you can choose from any vegetable you want to.
Add a broth, beef or chicken.
and finishing touch! An acid-- wine, lemon juice, hot sauce.
a sprinkling of a fresh herb
and a topping: olive oil, croutons, grated parmigiano cheese

The recipe also gave you "measuring" guidelines to follow.
3 cups of veggies
1 tbs of seasonings
1 1/2 cups aromatics
1/4 pound of meat.

It was up to me to decide what to mix and match and make for the soup. But...they had a picture of French Farmers Soup. and it looked delicious. I decided to make that one.

I chose baby lima beans. I was a bit hesitant, because my memories of frozen lima beans during my growing up years are not that pleasant. I didn't like the texture of them. but using dried baby ones in this soup....I loved the texture. They were so good! I think it would be a good soup with chickpeas also.

I chose bacon. Because I had it. You can't go wrong with bacon.

I chose a leek and an onion and celery.

and Thyme. and of course some salt and pepper.

carrots and a turnip. Not usually a big turnip fan, but the article suggested this for the French Farmer soup.

Chicken broth (no home made this time. and you could use beef or veggie broth if you'd like)

Add the beans and some broth. (didn't get a photo of this step)

and a splash of wine and some croutons

This soup was really good. And my husband, who is also not a fan of lima beans (he swears that's all his stepmother made) like it also. I actually can't wait to go home and have some this evening.
It is said that soup is actually better in a day or two.

French Farmers Soup

8oz dried baby lima beans
1 med. clove garlic
1 bay leaf
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Sort thru your beans and discard any little stones or clumps of dirt, and then give them a quick rinse. Transfer to a bowl and cover them with enough cold water to go 3 inches above the beans. Soak for 4-12 hours.

Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a 3-4 quart saucepan. (I just used my red soup pot--much bigger than that) Add 1 medium (or 2) garlic clove, smashed and peeled, 1 bay leaf and 6 cups of cold water. Partially cover to limit evaporation and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and almost creamy inside. The cooking time will vary depending on how long they have soaked and how old they are. Approximately 1 hour.
Season with salt.
Drain the beans, reserving the liquid and discard the bay leaf.

Heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter in a soup pot. To give the soup a more savory, meaty flavor add some bacon or smoked sausage. (I used bacon) Cook until the fat is rendered, 5-8 minutes. Drain off fat and set bacon aside.
Add the 1 1/2 cups celery, leeks and onion chopped ( 1/2 cup of each). Season with kosher salt and fresh pepper. Cook until they begin to soften, 4-6 minutes.
Add the seasonings of your choice. I used thyme, about 3/4 -1 tsp.

Add the vegetables, stirring to incorporate with the seasonings and aromatics.
I used a mixture of diced/sliced carrots and a turnip to equal 3 cups.
Add 2 cups of broth. Partially cover and simmer until the veggies are just barely tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the beans and 3 cups more of stock/broth and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Return the cooked bacon to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for another 10-20 minutes to meld the flavors.

Taste the soup and adjust seasonings.
Finish your soup with an acid.
I chose white wine ---just a splash.
And when I ladled it into a bowl, I sprinkled on some croutons.

Over all, we really liked this soup. It was a good choice.


Cathy said...

I can imagine that this soup smells wonderful while its simmering away. I've never used lima beans before but I'll give it a try.

Unknown said...

This sounds great! We just had a snow storm and they are saying we are going to have an even bigger one Monday. This is perfect!

Unknown said...

Man, I want some of this soup!

Joie de vivre said...

Wonderful tips! I'm bookmarking your recipe. My plan over the summer to utilize all the veggies in our CSA box was to make a weekly grab bag soup. Let me tell you, I made some real stinkers! Your method looks easy and also looks like it would produce good results!

The Blonde Duck said...

That sounds delicious! Yum!

Tagged you on my Saturday blog!

Karen said...

Looks so good and with that method it could be a different soup each time it was made! I'll join your carrot cake throwdown!

Bee said...

Soup, cookbooks, carrot cake: We are kindred spirits.

The carrot cake from The New Basics Cookbook is my personal favorite -- and features at almost all of our family birthday parties. If I substitute something else, there is always a friend who complains!

Deb in Hawaii said...

A beautiful soup--it looks hearty and delicious. Love the spash of white wine in it too! Thanks for coming to Souper Sunday. The round up is now posted.



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