Sunday, February 22, 2009

Smoky Legume and Sausage Soup

smoky legume soup

The blog has been pretty quiet lately because the evul-death111 cold/flu plague struck and struck hard, and I stopped cooking for a couple of weeks. It's nice to be back! Of course, I warn you that we will probably disappear again for a bit, since kiddo #2 is expected literally any day now. Tick tock. I have totally forgotten what the first six months are like with a baby, which is nature's way of encouraging humans to have more than one child. And if our English starts looking like we not only didn't sleep, but also failed our first grade equivalency test, just blame it on that state of self-induced mania called parenthood.

This soup was the first thing I made when it was clear that I was not going to turn into a zombie and spend the rest of my days lurking around malls and B-movies. It ended up being an interesting merge of a soup bubbling around in my brain and a recipe by Joy Manning posted on Serious Eats.

Smoky Legume and Sausage Soup

1 smoked pork chop or ham hock
1/3 lb ground pork shoulder
1/3 tsp fennel seed
pinch of hot red pepper flakes
1/2 coarse salt

1/4 lb dried cranberry beans
1 cup dried green lentils

1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 rind of parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
3 cups of chicken stock
4 cups of water

Soak the cranberry beans for several hours in cold water before starting the soup.

Heat up a splash of olive oil in a large soup pot on medium-high heat and brown the smoked pork chop on both sides, then remove to a side plate. Place the ground pork into the pot, along with the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp of salt, and brown thoroughly. Remove to the plate with the pork chop.

Lower the heat to medium and place the onions in the pot and cook until they start to turn translucent, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Then add in the green pepper, carrots, celery, and fennel and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients: cranberry beans, lentils, garlic, crushed tomatoes, pork chop and ground pork, parmesan rind, bay leaf, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a light simmer. Simmer for an hour or two and check the tenderness of the cranberry beans. Adjust for salt and pepper.

Notes: if you want to thicken the soup, you can remove a couple ladle-fuls to a food processor and puree, then add back into the soup. I do not recommend using an immersion blender for this step, because you don't want parts of the soup partially blended.

You can keep on cooking this soup for hours, and like most soups, it is really good the next day. I just ate it with some good bread, but you can also try it with a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar drizzled on top.

smoky legume soup

9 comments:

Stacey Snacks said...

Welcome back, even if it's temporary!
The crepes look amazing as does your "legume" soup.
I am making a pasta e fagioli in your honor today.

kellypea said...

Glad to hear you're on the mend. I know that I don't want to be anywhere around food when I feel the way you've described, but I could be enticed by a bowl o' this! I though maybe you'd disappeared because baby was already here. Good luck to you as you watch that clock.

MeetaK said...

Gif you know my love for legumes so this with the sausage is looking just fantastic to me! Glad to hear you are feeling better and happy to have you blogging again!

kat said...

That does look like a good hearty soup! I thought perhaps you were gone because of #2's arrival

bee said...

kiddo two, see ya soon, lil one.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Big hugs on not feeling well and good luck to you on your upcoming blessed event.

Hope you made a lot of that soup to get you through those all nighters.

Colloquial Cook said...

Hey Giff, shall we invest in a communal smoker? I have all those decadent charcuterie recipes for smoked everything (even almonds) including andouille and all kinds of funky bacon sausages. I know you're in :-) It's great to get over the flu I'm told (by myslef).
Courage à tous les deux, et bises à Lisl!

Meg Whetung said...

This soup is so amazingly good! It might be my favourite soup ever, and I know a lot of good soups. My husband and I made it today, for our big-pot-of-something-tasty-to-last us-the-whole-week. We made a few substitutions – our butcher didn't have any ham hock or smoked pork chops, so we used a big chunk of panchetta, and everywhere was out of ground pork so we removed some chorizo sausages from their casings and used that. Instead of the lentils and cranberry beans we used a combination of mung beans, aduki beans and cannelini beans, 'cause that's what was in the cupboard, but it was still perfect. The broth is so rich, the beans and pork complement each other so well, and the fennel adds great flavour. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

Giff said...

rock on Meg - your version sounds great!