Tuesday, March 4, 2008

04.03.08: White Bean and Cauliflower with Turnip

This soup started out last night as a half kilo bag of haricot beans that I put in to soak over night with the vague intention of marrying them with cauliflower and maybe using gram flour as a thickener. But then, buying veg. in East Street, I picked up one of those stainless steel bowl bargains, probably a couple of kilos of turnips gone a bit soft. And then again, buying bread at Oli's, I picked up a couple of 800g cans of butter beans. So, this soup was going to be thick enough with no need for flour.

Back at base, I boiled the soaked haricots for half an hour while I chopped and cooked a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery - roughly half a kilo of each - with the peeled cloves of half a head of garlic and sweated the diced veg in a splash of vegetable oil in the bottom of the soup pot, keeping its lid on to preserve the moisture, but stirring frequently to prevent sticking. That's what I usually do. Then I seasoned the slowly cooking mirepoix mixture with turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander, about a dessert spoonful of each.

I peeled and roughly diced the turnips, adding them to the pot and mixing them in with two litres of boiling Marigold bouillon. I removed the florets from four cauliflowers, discarded the outer leaves and diced the stem, adding the dice to the pot. I drained the contents of the two cans of butter beans and added them to the soup, which I brought to the boil and simmered for about ten minutes before adding a further two litres of bouillon and the cauliflower florets. I brought the soup back to the boil and simmered it for ten minutes before turning the heat off and leaving the pot to cool for ten minutes before blending.

While blending the soup, I poured in another couple of litres of Marigold bouillon - making six in total - and when the soup had achieved a smooth consistency, I added the cooked haricot beans and returned the pot to the hob. Served with copious freshly-chopped parsley, I thought this was a pretty fine soup. V. Soup Kitchen and, in our finest tradition, 23 persons were served (several of whom had seconds).
Joe (right) and Esme (left) did art today: Esme's lady with chicken is shown.

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