Monday, September 19, 2011

Soup Season is upon us

  I think about mastication a lot.  Every day.  May times a day.  Soup is the perfect food for lazy masticators.
Soup is a shining light in the darkness of winter and makes allergies in the fall seem a bit more tolerable.

  Soup makes digestion easier since it's already so close to liquid form that there is very little work involved in breaking down the pieces before it goes down the throat hole.  Just a small amount of chewing and then swishing around to get the enzymes in your saliva mixed about while thoroughly enjoying the flavors without any stress.  Soup is comfort food.  Its happy winter food that warms us in many ways.

Soup is a mix of ingredients that blend and marry to make new flavors.  No two soups are the same even if the same recipe is used.  They have their own personalities and in my case are a way to gamble in everyday life.   My style of soup making ,most often, is throwing things into a pot with some imagination, a little luck, and hoping it turns out edible.  Soup is thankfully hard to screw up.

This years first soup of the season is a mixed bean and veggie soup with some leftover chicken thrown in just because.

I used a bag of pinto beans and a bag of small kidney beans. ( I only used half of this mix for soup and used the other half for burritos later) We only use dried beans and not canned beans. I let the beans soak overnight and then boil them for a couple of hours on medium low heat.  

 "While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence, though those who eat beans regularly rarely have difficulties with flatulence as intestinal microbes adjust."

  After the beans are cooked I drain and rinse them and add them to a large pot that will accommodate all of the ingredients.  I added some leftover chicken breast and broth as well as Rosemary, dill, parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.
Add water and pour in some extra virgin olive oil.  I love olive oil and the stronger the flavor the better!

 (As an aside, upon Jaymon's suggestion, I started cooking chicken breast in water with my salt and pepper and then storing it in its own broth and juices.  It keeps it nice and moist instead of drying out in the fridge and then you can use the broth for things like soup.)

  While the beans were boiling I cut up and started boiling butternut squash. When soft  I added them to the soup mix as well as several handfuls of frozen Normandy Blend mixed vegetables.  Normandy Blend has broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.  The blend we have has both yellow and orange carrots.   The soup was hot enough to defrost the veggies but not hot enough to make them mushy.

  The Soup was mixed up and put into empty apple sauce jars ,which our our storage jar of choice for soups, and then put in the fridge.  
I think soups taste better after they have had time to marry and are always better the next day so I waited over night to try it and had soup for breakfast!    

What you will need~
Pinto and small kidney beans
Normandy blend veggies
butternut squash
chicken breast and broth, or what ever you have
(you could substitute veggie broth and cauliflower for the meat)
herbs and spices
salt
extra virgin olive oil

  Beet and Cabbage Borscht and Black Bean Pumpkin Chili (winging chili is the best!) of course are on the roster for soup making.

What soups do you like to prepare??
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