Tuesday, February 19, 2008

18.02.08: Spicy Red & Black Bean

I haven't concentrated too much on listing Almost Perfect Recipes, but I'm pretty confident of this soup, which began as my twist on Dal Makhani on 16.11.07, continued on 03.12.07, and bridged Xmas/NewYear. So here goes (these quantities serve about 25):

For the mirepoix: 500g Onion, 500g carrots, 500g celery, half a dozen cloves of garlic, red pepper paste (biber salçası)
Main ingredients: 1kg red kidney beans, 750g black beans, 250g black lentils (urid/urad), 5/6l Marigold bouillon
Spices: ground cumin (jeera), chilli powder/cayenne, 50-100g creamed coconut

1. Soak the red and black beans overnight in separate bowls.
2. Start by rinsing the beans and boiling them in seperate pans, simmering for about 45 minutes, until soft. The black lentils (urid) should be boiled for about 20 minutes.
3. Roughly chop the mirepoix and sweat the chopped vegetables with the peeled and crushed cloves of garlic (add more if you like garlic) in a generous splash of oil in the bottom of your soup pot with the lid on, removing it every few minutes to stir the mixture and ensure it's not sticking. Let it cook down for at least 15 minutes.
4. Add cumin and chilli powder to taste: say, a couple of desserts spoons of jeera and not quite a full dessert spoon of chilli powder (add more if you like chilli).
5. Add the red pepper paste (biber salçası), which comes in sweet and piquant flavours. Choose the one you prefer and use as much as you like, but 200g is probably enough.
6. Add three quarters of the red and black beans, reserving some of each to add to the soup later, in order to vary the texture. Cover with four litres of Marigold bouillon and bring to the boil, simmering for ten minutes (so long as the beans are cooked).
7. Liquidise the soup.
8. Add the reserved red and black beans and the cooked lentils to the soup with another litre or more of Marigold bouillon (depending on how thick your soup is and how thin you want it to be) and return it to simmer.
9. Grate creamed coconut into the soup to thicken it and, perhaps, to balance the chilli. Again, the exact quantity is up to you.
10. Serve garnished with a swirl of fresh yoghurt.

Sorry about the lack of a photo (not even the new cliche blackboard shot). Wasn't really feeling myself today after a rough w/e and made this soup on auto pilot, serving 19 bowls and taking about £23 donations. Several of the soup suppers were similarly rough, so this hearty number went down well with all.

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