Thursday, September 3, 2009
Black Beans, Bacon, and Bartering
This Black Bean Soup recipe actually reminds me of two things, both delightful: one past, one present. Cynda, my sister, and I used to be obsessed with bean and bacon soup, I think mostly because we liked to say "bean and bacon" loudly. We'd also get the giggle fits so hard I would pee my pants playing Star Wars Monopoly: word. Remembering that made this chili-alternative even more fun to make.
Secondly, last weekend's Domestic Labor Dinner got me thinking about bartering. We begged, borrowed, and bartered for just about everything for the event, from the space itself to the produce we served. So, when I needed someone to hook up my roommate's telly, I thought: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." My friend Andrew is excellent at A/V-itude; whereas my time is better spent in the kitchen. By night's end, my A/V is such that we can watch VHS tapes and listen to CDs (stuck in circa 1995, when Cynda and I were having our best giggle parties) and our tummies were stuffed. Yay!
On the menu: Black Bean Soup (with Bacon), grilled cheese sandwiches, and apple galette.
Black Bean Soup
Taste the Rainbow
1 lb dried black beans (2 c): rinsed, soaked in 4 quarts water overnight or for 6 hours
1 lb smoked ham hock or shank (I used 1 lb bacon)
2 bay leaves
5 c water
1/8 teas baking soda (helps the beans retain the color)
1/2 teas salt
4 Tbls olive oil
1 lg onion (chopped)
1 med sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 teas salt
4 med garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbls ground cumin
1 teas chili powder
2 c chicken stock
1 Tbls molasses
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3-4 Tbls fresh lime juice (or lemon)
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, avocado (peeled and chopped)
Cook bacon, drain bacon fat. Add 1/4 lb of cooked bacon to beans in 4-qt, thick-bottomed pot. Add 5 c water, bay leaves, salt and baking soda. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low simmer. Cover and let cook 75-90 min, til beans are tender. Remove bay leaves. Bacon will be black (ignore this).
Heat olive oil in large 8-qt, thick bottomed pot on med-high until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Add onions, celery, sweet potato, carrot and 1/2 teas salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned (about 10-15 min). Reduce heat to medium, add the cumin, chili powder, and garlic. Cook for 2 min, stirring constantly.
Add the beans, their cooking liquid, chicken stock, molasses, and bell pepper. I threw some green pepper too. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for 20-30 min.
Remove 4 cups of soup (about half) to a blender. Puree til smooth and return to the pot of soup. Add the remainder of the 1 lb of bacon. I also added corn sliced fresh from the cob. Add 3-4 Tbls lime juice. Let cook long enough for the corn to be tender.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: sometimes fancy French titles make something simple seem (needlessly) fancier and more complicated. I prefer to think of galette as peasant pie, because it's so simple and rustically wholesome.
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare the apples. I prefer tart (granny smith, cortland, mcintosh, paula red). You can peel or leave the skins on. Most importantly, quarter them, remove the seeds and slice them evenly. I think I did this to 5-6 apples. I didn't measure the resulting quantity. Place sliced apples in bowl. Add a 3-4 Tbls all-purpose flour, 1/4 c sugar, and cinnamon to taste. Stir to coat.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces (one stick)
3 tablespoons ice water
Whisk to combine flour and salt in bowl. Add chunks of butter. Use your hands to incorporate until it resembles a coarse meal, wherein the largest butter pieces are the size of peas. Add the water one Tbls at a time; mix with wooden spoon. It will start to clump together.
Dump the flour mixture onto a floured table. Gather it together and form a disk. You can refrigerate (wrap the dough in plastic) or roll out immediately.
Roll dough in large circle, until about 1/8" thick. Add flour underneath dough and to the rolling pin, whenever needed.
Wrap dough around rolling pin and transfer to sheet pan. Dump apple mixture into the center; spread them evenly around the center of the dough. Fold dough over the apples, making sure it overlaps itself, but doesn't cover the apples entirely. Seal any holes and cracks so the juices don't escape while baking.
Using an egg wash (one beaten egg, plus some water), brush the surface of the pastry.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. It will be amazing. Uncooked version below. Please see first photo (top) for finished--and delicious--product.