Saturday, January 7, 2012

Easy Peasy Bean Soup

As flight attendants we are often home for only a day at a time. This makes it difficult to prepare  nutritious and well balanced meals for our trips.  When I cook, I prepare a larger amount than I need and freeze single portions to take along on my trips. This week I wanted an economical first course that would lend itself well as a crew meal.
Bean soup fit the bill perfectly.
There are a lot of variations for this recipe. I used Trader Joe's organic cannelini beans, chicken stock, frozen roma tomatoes, rosemary, sage, bay and thyme all from my garden.
Served in small white soupettes it was perfect for a chilly day. My guests were dazzled and today when I reheated it on the plane, the crew was dazzled too. For an elegant presentation, puree it and serve it with a dollop of mascarpone.
Bean soup variations are endless. For a true Italian soup substitute the canneline beans for garbanzos add rosemary add a bay leaf, puree the soup and garnish with cooked pasta and parmesan cheese.
For Tex Mex use pinto beans, chile powder and top with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and scallions.
A la Francaise use white beans, thyme, bay leaf and garnish with creme fraiche and chives. 
See where I'm going with this? You can make your own signiture bean soup and literally everyone will love it! Just be sure to bring enough for the crew.
Easy Peasy Bean Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stem of rosemary, leaves pulled and chopped
1 sage leaf
1 bay leaf
1 slice of ham, if your so inclined
4 cups of chicken stock
2-3 cans of cannelini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Parmesan cheese, rind also if you have one
Handful of parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a stock/soup pot. Add the onion and garlic cook for several minutes, add the celery and carrot saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and ham and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. If you have it, add the cheese rind and lower heat and cook for 1 hour to develop the flavor. Add the beans and cook another 15 minutes. Remove the rind and the bay and sage leaves.
Serve garnished with parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.

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