Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Butter Bean Soup

Happy New Year!  We are off to a cold start! It's so cold that the Governor cancelled school for the entire state! That never happens. Up here in Minnesota, when it gets cold, we just pull up our snow pants and pull down our hats.  In the South, they say it's not the heat, it's the humidity.  Up North, we say it's not the cold, it's the wind.  Windchill temperatures (what it actually feels like), are said to be -40 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the coldest it's been since 1996 - just shortly before we moved to Atlanta.  Hmmmm…… it's all coming back to me now.  Nevertheless, my 16-year old says it's a great way to start second semester!

When it's cold outside, there is nothing I love more than making soup. Soup is the perfect excuse to stand over a hot stove on a cold day. You can hold soup in a coffee mug and let it warm your hands. You can sip soup in the same mug and let it warm you from the inside out. There's a reason for all those books called Soup for the Soul.  Soup comforts you in a way that no other food can. Except for Ben and Jerry's.  But that's a different story.

Now, about the butter beans. If you've never had them before A) You are obviously not from the South and B) Prepare to fall in love.  Butter beans are big and meaty and smooth and creamy and melt-in-your-mouth buttery all in one bite. Your carnivorous teenage son won't even ask you what happened to the meat.

Start the butter bean soup with your basic mirepoix. (That's a french word for carrots, celery and onion.) I like to say it out loud because it makes me feel fancy.  For this soup, I used 2 cups of each. Saute' the veggies in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until softened.

Now, please indulge me for a moment while I digress on the pros and cons of giving children household responsibility.  PROS:  They learn valuable life lessons, improve their self-esteem, gain independence and are less likely to grow up with a feeling of youth entitlement.  CONS:  I have lost a total of four vegetable peelers in the last year. When said children unload the dishwasher, I have no idea where they think the peelers belong. Even as recently as last week, I saw one in the drawer.  But today? Nothing. Nada. Zippo. FYI - a cheese slicer will work for peeling carrots when needed.  I just thought you 'd like to know that.

When the mirepoix has softened, add 1/4 cup of flour and stir.  The flour, combined with the oil will create a light rue which will give the broth just a little bit of body.

Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes. It is really that easy.

The result is soup for the body and the soul - perfect for a cold, January day.

Butter Bean Soup
By Rachel @ Simple Girl

2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups sweet yellow onions, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
2 15-ounce cans butter beans, drained
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes with Green Chiles (mild)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

Soften carrots, celery and onions in olive oil over medium low heat.  When softened, mix in flour until in forms a paste. Slowly add stock, mixing so no lumps form.  Add beans, tomatoes, sugar and basil.  Adjust salt to taste.

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