Black bean soup

The more I read about cooking legumes, the more I worry. America's test kitchen recently started recommending a salt water soak prior to cooking, Rancho Gordo's cookbook is on the other side saying cook beans with NO spices, gently, presoaked or not. The are tons of other, even less authoritative, sources if information for legume preparation.

I was recently given a most unique and generous gift of fresh dry black beans, just harvested this year by Josie. Instead of saving my most valuable stash for the next depression or the apocalypse, I frivolously tossed the salt-free water soaked beans in with a ham hock and let them barely perk for a few hours. I removed the tender pork from the hock and added some spices to this brew: slivered garlic, salt, fresh ground cumin, pepper and a freshly-ground, just dried sweet pepper from the generous and creative Kate.

The order of beans cooking and spicing was different than I'd usually do, but I usually use canned beans. This prep enabled a gentle cooking/hydration of the beans before the seasoning. The result? I don't think I've ever had such a smooth texture in a bean. The post cooking seasoning was perfectly adequate. Even Frankie had a good sized portion.

Josie and Kate are the ones you want to prepare you for that stay in the bunker 75 feet below the surface of the earth in your shelter. Oh, and allow plenty of time to schedule Lori for desserts to guarantee that said apocalypse is a party.


TheKate said...

My what a delicious party we shall have when the world ends! I sure hope Lori's ginger/pumpkin-cello and your weber grill make the cut (as well as all of our loved ones, of course).

Your beans sound amazing. We frequently make a similarly seasoned soup and add swiss chard and masa dumplings (a la Rick Bayless).

Oh my, my stomach just started growling. Perhaps bean soup is on the menu for an early dinner at our house.

Dave said...

Wow. Masa dumplings, I'm lookin those up tomorrow.

By the way. I couldn't figure out what to do with those little peppers. Dried and pulverized turned out to be special. Spicy, but not always hot, is nice. Reminds me of Spanish, sweet smoked paprika - next time I'll smoke 'em. Thanks again.

TheKate said...

Masa dumplings (Bayless calls them Masa "Gnocchi" - perhaps that gives you a better idea of size and shape):

1 c dried masa harina mixed with 1/2 c + 2 Tbsp hot tap water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix everything. Roll into balls the size of marbles and press a dimple into each. (We have made these enough to prefer them to be about the size of a penny - they are the perfect fit on a spoon).

Cook masa dumplings in gently simmering, salted water until they have risen to the surface and are cooked through (about 3 minutes). Remove and drain.

Add to soup when serving. Let leftover dumplings cool in a flat layer before putting in refrigerator.