Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Bean Soup

In this easy gourmet recipe adapted from Heart Healthy cooking for All Seasons by Marvin Moser white beans, hominy, Jerusalem artichokes, and smoked sausage are cooked in chicken stock and flavored with garlic, carrots, onions, parsley, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper to make an aromatic and flavorful soup. This is a true comfort food that will lift your spirits during the cold months and dreary days. This bean soup is filled with nutrients and quite filling. It will give you a boost of energy and can be a full meal on its own. Serving it with some tortilla chips or nachos you’ll make it an extra delicious experience.

Hominy comes from yellow or white corn kernels, typically maize. Maize is a type of corn used for making cornmeal, that have been soaked in an alkali solution of either lime or lye until the hull and the germ of the corn are removed and the grain puffs up nearly twice its normal size. When cooked hominy has a chewier and fluffier texture than regular corn and is less sweet. There are variations of hominy and it is called by different names. When coarsely ground, it is called samp, when ground in small grains it is called grits, little hominy, or hominy grits. It is called posole when the kernels are whole. For this chef recipe, it is best to use whole kernel hominy or posole. Before it is ready to use for cooking dried hominy needs to be soaked in water for at least eight hours.

This recipe also uses Jerusalem artichokes. This artichokes has no relation to the more common globe artichokes nor do they originate from Jerusalem. Also known as sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes belong to the sunflower family. They are tubers native to North America. With tinges of yellow, red or purple they look like knobby ginger roots. Their edible roots hey have a crisp texture like water chestnuts and when cooked become soft and taste nutty. The peels of sunchokes are edible. Before cooking they should be washed well and cleaned with a soft brush.

1 1/3 cups dried posole or whole hominy
1 lb. dried white beans
10 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped Jerusalem artichokes
4 oz. smoked sausage
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon ground sage
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Pick over and rinse the beans and posole or hominy. Pour them into a pot filled with a gallon of cold water. Allow them to sit and soak overnight. Drain.

2. Pour the prepared posole or hominy and beans into an 8 quart Dutch oven. Add the stock, garlic, carrot, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, sausage, parsley, sage, and rosemary. Over high heat bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until beans and posole or hominy are tender.

3. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set it on a plate to cool. Chop the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Then return it to the soup. Heat until the meat is warm again. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

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