Monday, April 24, 2006
Helen of Beyond Salmon once wrote a funny, very true post about growing up in a Russian soup-eating family.
For as long as I can remember, my mom made soup at least once or twice a week. A week without soup was a week gone wrong. She has a dozen soupsin her repertoire, including this tomato bean soup, the family favorite. I made it myself for the first time, with some successful tweaking.
First, I soaked a cup of navy beans in water overnight. When making the soup the next day, I brought chicken stock to a boil, added the beans, and reduced the heat to low. I think I used 7 or 8 cups of stock.
I simmered the beans for about 50-60 minutes, until they were soft and tender. Then I chopped, sauteed and added to the stock pot: A large onion, two celery ribs,a big carrot, a slice of bacon, and, separately, a zucchini. A minute or two before the zucchini was done sauteeing, I added a handful of parsley and clove of garlic to the skillet, minced.
I let the whole thing simmer for 10-15 minutes while I pondered a food blogger dilemma: Do I dare use ingredients that no respectable foodie would admit to eating? You see, my mom's secret ingredients are a can of Bush's baked beans and ketchup. They give the soup its sweet-savory, tomato-y, smoky flavor. The soup was thick enough without the extra beans, but I did go with the ketchup--no regrets.
In a bowl, I mixed half a can of crushed tomatoes, a couple of big squirts of ketchup and a little sugar. I added all this to the stock pot, along with a dried, hot chili pepper. While the soup simmered some more, I decided that adding a couple of small chunks of parmesan that had been sitting in my fridge, wrapped in foil, for much too long was a good idea.
And it was.