Tuesday, February 3, 2009

White Bean and Acorn Squash Soup

Or, another squash bites the dust.

Seriously, y'all.  Beans.  They're What To Eat At The Recession.  I stocked up on lentils, split peas, lupini, cannellini, pinto and chickpeas at the Mediterranean Grocery (you know, I think it really is just called Mediterranean Grocery, but I feel compelled to use the article) on Park last week.  $10 spent just might see me out the winter.

Also, I *heart* the Mediterranean Grocery.  You can get hummus, glass teacups,  lamb's tongue, many, many dried beans and a copy of the Koran all in the same place.  It's just east of Highland on Park, if you want to venture over.

This is definitely a make it on a weekend and let it simmer all day kind of deal.  Mainly because dried beans take a verrry long time to soften.  I followed the recipe's recommendations, and my beans were still a bit crunchy after about 2-3 hours on the stove.   If I were to make this again, I'd simmer longer and use another big pinch of thyme on the onions, or maybe some sage, to give them a bit more flavor.  

The original recipe doesn't call for greens, but I'm glad I threw in the arugula, because it tasted more spring-y that way!

White Bean and Acorn Squash Soup
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

1 cup dried white beans (cannellini, navy, lupini...)
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water (I would use 6, though; a lot of it boiled off)
2 tablespoons olive oil or duck fat (should you have duck fat lying around...)
2 onions, sliced thin
2 big pinches of dried thyme
1 medium acorn squash (or whatever squash needs to be eaten)
A handful of arugula, rinsed

Soak your beans in 4 cups of water overnight.  Or longer.  I don't think it really matters; I'm suspicious of the efficacy of presoaking.  The next day, drain them and put them in a large pot with the chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender.  Start checking after 45 minutes... but don't get your hopes up.  Season to taste when cooked.

Cut up and peel your squash, into about 1/2 inch cubes.  

Heat the olive oil/fat in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions and the thyme.  Cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the squash and salt to taste (remember your chicken broth might be salty as well).  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the onions and squash to the beans; cook at a simmer until the beans are at your preferred tenderness.  About 5 minutes before you're ready to eat, throw in the greens!

Definitely enjoy with toasted bread brushed with olive oil.  Perhaps... bread from your neighborhood bakery??  Quoi?!


Cafe Eclectic, on McLean and Faxon, has opened a bakery adjacent to their cafe, and it is wonderful.  You can buy the ciabatta loaf they use for their sandwiches, and also baguettes, lemon tarts, croissants, donuts, sourdough bread, and when I was there last weekend, I got to see some Key Lime tartlettes in action.  Or you can just sit in the bakery, read cases, and inhale sugary goodness all morning.  You must go.  And smell.  And forget about the recession and buy a lemon tart.

Fluffy, crunchy, amazing.

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