Monday, August 2, 2010

RECIPE: White Bean Soup and Sauteed Garlic Mushrooms

Yesterday was Sunday, so that must mean that it was time to cook! I hardly cook anymore, aside from Sundays. Yet it was a lazy day, and I had spent a sweating and exhausting afternoon weed eating the jungle behind my shed. So while starving, I wanted something fast and simple. Oh, and of course something good for you and vegetarian! So I decided to try a couple of recipes out of the new Vegetarian: a collection of over 100 essential recipes book that I got on clearance for $7.

White Bean Soup
  • 6 oz or 3/4 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water to cover overnight (I used a can of Northern beans instead)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I used 3 cans of store bought stock instead of making my own today. Remember it was a lazy day!)
  • 4 oz dried corallini, conchilgliette piccole, or other soup pasta (I used corkscrew)
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used jarred minced garlic)
  • 4 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Drain the soaked beans and place them in a large, heavy-bottom pan. (I used canned beans instead). Add the stock and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pan, then reduce the heat, and let simmer for 2 hours, or until tender. (I boiled my beans for about 15 minutes).
  2. Transfer about half of the beans and a little of the stock to a food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree.

  3. Return the puree to the pan and stir well to mix. Return the soup to a boil.
  4. Add the pasta to the soup, return to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
  5. Chop the parsley.
  6. While the pasta cooks, heat 4 tbs of the olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until golden.

  7. Stir the garlic into the soup and add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and ladle into warmed soup bowls. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Sauteed Garlic Mushrooms
  • 1 lb white mushrooms
  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Wipe or brush clean the mushrooms, then trim off the stems close to the caps. Cut any large mushrooms in half or into fourths. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds-1 minute, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and saute over high heat, stirring most of the time, until the mushrooms have absorbed all the oil in the skillet.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. When the juices have come out of the mushrooms, increase the heat again, and saute 4-5 minutes, stirring most of the time, until the juices have almost evaporated. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Transfer the sauteed mushrooms to a warmed serving dish and serve piping hot or warm. Accompany with chunks or slices of crusty bread for mopping up the garlic cooking juices.

Now the problem here was that I had to leave the soup simmering on the stove for too long while I did other things. So what I wound up with was a hearty pasta dish rather than "soup". Most of the broth was absorbed into the pasta while it simmered.
However all of the flavor was there! And the mushrooms had a little too much lemon juice (I did probably more like three squeezes of lemon instead of "a squeeze" as indicated in the recipe), and I used coarse sea salt right at the end, causing there to be bites that were really salty and crunchy. Next time I would probably use a finer salt, or less of the sea salt. Good though!
And there was pasta leftover for lunch today!
I would do this again, but I would try to get the soup straight off the stove as soon as it is done, rather than leave it to simmer. And, of course, I would use less lemon in the mushrooms. So, dinner was not as good as it could have been, but not half bad for a quick meal. Maybe not a "success", but at least a "pass"!