Okay, we’re here for awhile. I’m going to start reviewing stuff. The usual caveats apply. My tastes aren’t yours, they might suck to you and certainly cannot withstand political scrutiny.
Today: a soup, but not just a soup.*
Do you have more beans than you did a few weeks ago? Probably?
Do you have more time than you did a few weeks ago? That depends on the presence and age of kids in you household and your employer’s work-from home policy and whether you’ve had to construct an online course from scratch.
If you have beans and time, I am going to tell you about the Best Soup, which comes with a special bonus for vegetarians.
People have been posting pictures of food on social media. I like food, and I like pictures of other stuff, but I don’t like pictures of food that much. Yes, I’m glad you’re cooking, but if you’re cooking, I want to know how to do it. Otherwise it’s just a picture of something you did that I didn’t do. Now, pictures of PETS, that I am fine with because I don’t want to know how to cook your pets.
Onto today’s business.
The recipe is here. It makes a lot of soup, so either eat soup for awhile (this is what we do when we aren’t serving it to friends because IT IS THE BEST SOUP) or freeze some, or halve it. It’s difficulty level is, well, Punjab. You double cook things.
The reason I am recommending this soup is not just that it is delicious, but that if you like to cook, it is also an education. At least it was for us.
If you are vegetarian like I am, you may have discovered that store-bought vegetarian boullion is not all that great. It’s fine. But it doesn’t do to things that meat boullions do. A fresh vegetable stock, on the other hand, can do amazing things that meat stocks cannot in terms of depth and complexity.
The sachet: This is where this recipe shines. Once you learn how to make a sachet, it’s a skill for life. A few weeks ago in THE BEFORE Carrie had made some rosemary cannellini** beans which were good and we ate. But there were some left over. So I made a minestrone with them, and I used a sachet. It was the best minestrone. As a bonus, you can put parts of vegetables you might not eat (like the green parts of leeks–recipes never call for them) in a sachet and they can work their magic.
Also, you can make small sachets: stuff aromatics into that metal tea ball in your drawer that you never use. It works for anything with a cooking liquid.
A note on beans: do you need to use the expensive Rancho Gordo beans? No. Yes, I have spent the money and found that they are actually delicious. But we’ve done this successfully with navies and great northerns and bean perfectly happy. BAM!
This is where, if you missed the initial Corona Hoarding, you are actually in luck if and when you acquire your next dry beans. The problem with most store-bought dried beans is that they have been sitting on the shelf forever, or at least for far too long. You want fresher dried beans. The other tip, less relevant now but more relevant in more plentiful times, is to buy your dried beans from a place where vegetarians shop (bulk stores, Co-Ops, etc), since they tend to cook more beans. Vegetarians aren’t the only ones, but High Bean Turnover is key to good dry beans from the store.
*I started a review on pants but my feelings on pants are so ambivalent right now it’s hard to write anything cogent.
**WordPress keeps trying to correct words like boullion and cannellini (which it converts to cannelloni). If this it’s the bad at food names, how do all those people have all those cooking blogs stuffing up our search engines?