Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Days are Dark Indeed - It's time for more Soup

I hope that no one thinks the title of this post means that I find soup dreary. Just the opposite! A nice pot of soup brightens the darkest winter evening, which is why this is my third Dark Days post featuring soup.

Plus, this is an especially exciting soup because it features one of the beans grown by my friend Marty Heller. You may remember him from the post I wrote about his beans back in early December.

I used two cups of his lovely peregion beans.

Do you think beans can be serene? These look serene to me.

Last time I made a bean soup for the blog I used (and photographed) a quick soak method on the hutterite soup beans my husband and I grew. This time I did a long soak. A long soak is so easy. All it requires is a minuscule amount of thinking ahead. (I know, sometimes thinking ahead is actually very hard.)

A long soak is simply an overnight soaking of your beans. If you want to make a bean soup tomorrow, cover some beans with water and pop them in the refrigerator while you're making dinner tonight.

Here is what will happen:

2 cups beans + 3 cups water.
This is what they look like going in.

A few hours later I decided the soup also needed wheat berries.
Into the fridge they went. 1 cup wheat berries + about 2 cups water.
 Notice the beans have already plumped a bit.

This is about 24 hours after the first picture. The beans are huge!
The wheat berries aren't too much bigger, but they've obviously done something.
Look how golden their water is. Time to make soup!

I started the soup by caramelizing some onions (grown on our very own farm) with garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. To the onion I added the wheat berries and beans, both of which had been drained, and about two quarts of turkey stock made from turkeys we raised. Once I had that boiling, I added three sliced carrots, grown by our neighbors the Peterson's. Thanks Peterson's! The soup simmered for about an hour, and it was done. That's it. The long soak made it that simple.

I inherited the Navy spoons from my grandparents, who uh...borrowed them
when my grandpa was on a submarine in WWII.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that the wheat berries are not in any way local. I am using them for the Dark Days Challenge anyway for two reasons. First, it would be silly (and not at all sustainable) to buy new wheat berries just to fit the challenge. Second, I have tracked down a local source for them which I will use once I have finished the wheat berries I have on hand.

I also have to say that I loved the wheat berry and bean combination in this soup. It was something I had never tried before and I found that I really enjoyed the nutty pop of the wheat along side the creamy beans. Just look how lovely they were together.

I was amazed by how well the peregions held their color.
These beans are beautiful and delicious.

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