Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Surprising Haricot Bean Soup

When I usually think of Haricot beans they don't really fill me with feelings of affection - they are just another legume, a pulse we should all eat more of.

haricot

But recently we had the chance to taste a soup made from this bean at Fenix and oh, what a soup it was. As we gleefully tucked into it at the time, neither one of us wanted the bowl to come to an end. The soup was lush and creamy but as your spoon reached the bottom of the bowl another element came into play, a melange of sautéed onion and jamon were waiting for us.

I've been remembering that taste for the last few weeks so it's of no surprise that I've gone ahead and made my own version. It's not as pretty as the original but I think it's getting there with the taste.

soup

Surprising Haricot Bean Soup
[Serves 2]

For the Soup:
1 cup haricot beans
1 leek, diced finely
fresh chicken stock, hot
salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the Surprise:
1 red onion, sliced finely
Pancetta (or Jamon), diced into small cubes
reserved haricot beans

Prepare the beans:
Place the beans in a bowl and pour over with cold water - make sure it covers the beans by about an inch. Let this sit overnight. Drain and rinse when you are ready to make the soup.

Make the soup:
Melt a little butter and olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and when the butter has melted add the sliced leeks - let this sauté slowly until the leek has softened but not coloured. Stir often to make sure the leek cooks evenly.

Add the drained beans and continue over a low heat - keep stirring as you just want the beans to come to temperature. Add enough hot stock to cover the beans and let this simmer until the beans have softened - you will find that you'll need to top up the stock level as the beans absorb the liquid. You could also use water at this stage if you like.

When cooked, remove about a half cup of beans - strain them to remove any stock, and set to one side.

Blend or Process the remaining soup until smooth - if you want a silky smooth soup, you might want to pass it through a sieve.

Pour this into a clean saucepan and over a low heat, bring it back up to eating temperature. Taste and season, though keep in mind that the pancetta is quite strongly seasoned.

Make the Surprise:

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add the onions and diced pancetta - cook over a medium heat. You want the onions to brown and the pancetta to get brown and crispy - when this happens add the reserved beans and cook for just a few minutes - all you want is for the beans to absorb the cooking flavours from the onions and pancetta and to return to temperature.

Assemble the Soup:

Place a good spoonful of the onion mixture into the bottom of your bowl,

inside

then top with the bean soup.

soup

If you are feeling the need for a little more decadence, top with a just seared scallop.

Or if you are in Melbourne, head over to Fenix and try the original!

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8 comments:

  1. Haalo, I'm going to "adopt" this idea next time I make soup - fantastic! :)

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  2. Wow! I would never taught it was that good making bean soup but then I saw your pictures and here I am thinking about buying some beans. Thanks for the idea and for everything. I will keep you posted.

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  3. i never made this soup before and now i have to try it.looks creamy and delicious but i'll take a pass on the pancetta as i dont eat pork.how about a dollop of salsa.i thin it would taste nice.

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  4. Thanks Patricia - I hope you enjoy it!

    Thanks Rose - look forward to hearing from you!

    Hi Kate - I'd probably just make a sauté of onion and garlic instead - the garlic should give you that flavour hit that the pancetta gives, I'd also adjust the seasoning to compensate.

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  5. what a clever idea! this looks delish :)

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  6. I can see from your photo that the soup has a really velvety finish, looking great. I like the idea of the surprise at the bottom of the bowl too, the texture contrast between the crispy onions/bacon and the smooth soup sounds fun.

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  7. Thanks Trig - that's exactly the idea behind it, new textures giving you a different taste.

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