Leek and Pinto Bean Soup

December 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

Leek and Pinto Bean Soup

As I get deeper into the Dark Days challenge, I am getting better at preparing myself and knowing what kinds of ingredients I have available nearby to stay local. What is happening is that I am beginning to use a lot of the same ingredients (from the same places) again and again. This might not be any more true now that it would be otherwise, but when I am writing out these ingredients and where they are sourced from each week, I can’t ignore this fact. I don’t really feel like I am in a rut, though, because I think each meal I make is unique relative to those I made previous to it and I am really enjoying what I am eating. It just seems strange that this is the second of five posts in which I use local potatoes. Matt loves potatoes and I like them too, but I would really like to mix things up here with the occasional whole grain to fulfill the starch component of my plates. The only other options I have found are soft red wheat berries and cornmeal. So that is something I am working on.

Leek and Pinto Bean Soup

This week’s post is kind of cheated because I made this meal earlier this week, the day after my last Dark Days meal, so that I could use the same farmer’s market bounty. Week 6’s meal hasn’t been made yet, but will also use produce from last week’s market.

Leek and Pinto Bean Soup

In terms of flavor, this soup reminds me of a Baked Potato Soup, particularly with the added garnishes. I think Matt had the same idea because he wanted to top it with bacon (I totally would have if we had found local bacon). The soup is great because it tastes so rich and creamy, as if it is full of butter, cheese and cream. In reality, most of that creaminess comes from the rich and flavorful, but totally healthy, pinto beans. There is just a tablespoon of butter and a half cup of milk in the entire recipe (serving 8-10), plus however much cheddar is grated over each bowl. I hate to sell something as tasting like something it isn’t, but for a lot of people (including myself) beans are comfort food (just like butter, cheese and cream), so I think they are an awesome way to make meals more wholesome without sacrificing food that you actually crave and makes you feel good. This is my favorite meal so far from the challenge.

Leek and Pinto Bean Soup

1 year ago, today: Florentine Bars

Leek and Pinto Bean Soup:
serves 8-10
– 2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked and cooked
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 3/4 lb leeks, thinly sliced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 tsp dried thyme
– 1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, large dice
– 5 cups stock
– 1/2 cup milk
– salt & pepper
– cheddar, chives and generous pepper to garnish

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Slowly cook leeks until soft and slightly caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme and saute until aromatic. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil, down to a simmer until potatoes are tender. Puree in a blender, add milk to thin and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cheddar cheese.

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