As a kid, growing up in Holland, I used to love bruine bonen soep. We were vegetarian, so besides leaving out the oil, I guess I could have used the recipe from those days, but I have no idea what my mother really did, although I liked to hang out in the kitchen and often helped with cooking.
Meanwhile, later, after I started living on my own, I became a bit familiar with the general Dutch way of making this type of soup, with sausage and bacon. Stick to your ribs as they say. In my #WFPB version, I allow for either TVP or baked Seitan to provide some of that chewyness that sausage might provide and that works quite well. I have even had some omnivore friends asking me what kind of meat this was. I get a kick out of that.
So, since I have quite an inventory of kidney beans and pinto beans and other pulses, I figured it's soup season and I made this improvisation based on a recipe from a Dutch website. The first few times I made it with pinto beans, because I have a lot of them in the house, but I am also going to make it with red kidney beans, which at least visually seem closer to the Dutch bruine bonen (brown beans). I know that in the past I did make a version with red kidney beans also. Next time I do, I am going to try to appreciate the difference in flavor.
I ended up straying very far from the original, but the result was amazing. My neighbor who ate some of it said it was the best soup he ever had in his life. In some versions of it, I've also added barley, which is very nice and makes it even more of a complete meal. Have a salad on the side and you have a highly nutritious complete meal. These days you can even find some whole wheat bread sticks if you're looking for crunch.
Bruine Bonen Soep
Kidney Bean Soup
2 cups of kidney beans or pinto beans, dry
1 ounce of kombu for soaking
1tsp summer savory for cooking the beans
1-3 bay leaves
2-3 medium sized onions, cut-up fine
2-3 shallots or other small onion
4-5 chilis and/or jalapenos, or both - cut-up fine
2 quarts of veggie broth or alt. use something like Veggie Better Than Bouillon and water. More water to taste.
1 leek, washed and sliced fine.
5-10 cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup of celeriac root, parsnip, or turnip, or eddo.
2-3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 potatoes, washed and diced,
1-2 carrots peeled & diced
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
Optional: add in some barley for the last 30 mins.
Some Tianjin veggies
Some miso, or gochujan, or Yondu to taste.
If you want some chewyness, you could add in some baked seitan (kao fu), or ΅soy chunks/TVP. etc. Could also be mushrooms.
Garnish with parsley.
- Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally).
- Cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 425F (Medium High)
- Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, turmeric and stir fry it for another five mins, adding about 1 cup of water or veggie broth.
- Add in the drained beans and 2 pints of veggie broth. If you pre-cooked the beans in the Instant Pot, you can use the cooking water from the beans also.
- Let cook for 1- 1.5 hrs, until the beans are soft. Alternatively, you can cook the beans in water with the kombu in the Instant Pot. That will save time and energy (takes only 10 mins.
- Puree it with a stick blender or in a food processor.
- Add in the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme simmer low for 30 mins.
- Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso or gochujang or similar.