Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pinto Bean, Southern Greens, and Campanelle Pasta Soup with Paprika Bean Puree

"Cold weather" has arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area, meaning that I actually need to wear a sweater or light jacket outside and that we're running our heat in our apartment. I must be a wimp because this weather chills my bones, like there's no getting away from feeling cold all the time, even though I spent my childhood on Michigan. I adjusted to the subtle weather changes here way too easily!

For my lunch group at work this week, I made a warming and comforting soup that is a modification of a recipe from The Wednesday Chef, Amy Scattergood's Cranberry Bean, Lacinato Kale and Pasta Soup. Unfortunately, I can never find the ingredients I need when I choose to make our meals from a recipe, and this time was no exception. I couldn't find cranberry beans or Mother Stallards, but I do know that pinto beans are cousins to cranberry beans, so I used those commonly found beans instead. I couldn't find lacinato kale, but I did find a bag of already washed and cleaned southern greens (collard, mustard, and turnip greens) at Trader Joe's. I couldn't find orrechiette (!), so I used the bell-shaped pasta, which I find more interesting anyway, campanelle. The soup turned out just as fabulous as I hoped, and it made enough servings for four people at lunch at work, lunch for my husband for two days, and dinner for the two of us! You might want to look at the quantity of the ingredients before making this -- it calls for 3 cups of dried beans and 12 cups of water, so it's certain to make a metric ton. Make sure you have a very large pot before you begin!

What I found interesting about this recipe is that you cook the pasta separately, and I actually stored and transported it separate from the soup, which kept the pasta from bloating too much before consuming the soup. The bean puree with two kinds of paprika, sweet and smoked, and fresh herbs, added a freshness to the soup and had a beautiful color. I might just need to try making other flavors of bean purees to add to soups -- it has the effect of adding creaminess, fresh herbs, and color to a soup that you might be storing for a few hours or days.

We ate this soup so fast that I didn't get a picture, but you'll get the idea from the post at The Wednesday Chef. I suggest trying different beans and greens and herbs in the puree for a yummy, transportable creation!

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