Red Bean and Walnut Soup
This soup is of Georgian origin, where pairing red beans and walnuts appears to be some sort of national pastime. It sure beats baseball. This is a rustic soup, lusciously creamy and actually good for you, too. (Unless you overload on the olive oil, that is. Since I don’t specify quantities there, on your own head be it.)
I definitely plan to make this again. Next time, however, I think I will use it in a shallow bowl or curved plate as the bottom saucy layer of a plated entree, instead of serving it as a soup on its own. It was wonderful as a soup, but I think it would also shine as part of a composed dish.
Every recipe is a building block. Every recipe is not just a meal, but also a component and a tool.
How would you suggest using this as part of a composed dish?
Around this time last year, we were making: Sweet and Sour Lotus Root
Red Bean and Walnut Soup
(adapted from Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman)
1 lb. dried red beans (we used Rio Zape heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo)
10-12 C chicken stock (you can use half water if you must)
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 C walnut pieces, ground in a Sumeet or food processor
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C tarragon vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro and parsley for garnish
Rinse the beans and soak them in water overnight.
Drain the beans, then put them in a pot with 10 C chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are tender and almost (but not quite) mushy. This may take about an hour and a half, depending on your beans. Alternatively, you can cook them in your pressure cooker for about 35 minutes.
Puree some of the beans and stir back into the pot (or use an immersion blender). Salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer while you deal with the next step.
In a separate pan, saute the onions in olive oil until they are golden but not too brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute or two.
Stir the onions, garlic, and oil into the beans, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in the ground walnuts, crushed coriander seeds, and tarragon vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
If need be, stir in extra chicken stock to thin the soup further, and adjust the seasoning to taste. I rather liked a lot of black pepper in this.