Thursday, March 18, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006h Rogier's Fusion Bean Soup

Again, small steps, big consequences. This week I tried Dominican Red Beans, and just a few small tweaks to the recipe.


For one thing, I had recently begun using some fennel in the recipe, as well as some Panch Puran, aka Panch Phoron which is itself a mixtutre of five spices, which conveys a rich aroma. It contains the following seeds: 

  • fenugreek
  • nigella
  • cumin
  • black mustard
  • fennel
Now, you can get it ground up, as a powder, or in the form of seeds. If you get it whole, the proper way of using it is to roast it in the pan before you do anything else. This step releases the flavor, you just have to watch that you don't actually burn the seeds. 

This time I used a tablespoon of Panchpuran with an extra tablespoon of fennel seeds. Personally, I found the fennel too strong in the resulting soup, but some others loved the fennel aroma, which shows you again how difficult it can be to satisfy all tastes. For the next time, I will still use the tablespoon of Panchpuran, but will reduce the fennel to 1 teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.

The new routine is now simply to pre-cook the beans with just the kombu in the Instant Pot, and then to create the base in my HestancCue Chef's pot, where the steps now are:
  1. Pre-roast the Panchpuran (whole seeds, not powder), and fennel. Sofar I am trying 7 mins at 300F. The trick is to release the flavor, but not burn the seeds. We don't need charcoal in the soup.
  2. Caramelize the onions, along with peppers, by dry roasting about 6 minutes at 350F
  3. Add in the other herbs and spices and stir-fry by adding a cup of water and Yondu, another 6 minutes at 350F, and next
  4. Add the other herbes and spices and the pre-cooked beans with liquid, and let it simmer at 230F for about 15 mins.

While it is simmering, I start to build the broth, and I let that simmer to the point that the veggies are getting soft, and then I add in the bean base and more water as needed (usually about a pint).

Then I let ic simmer together for 30 mins until it is time to take out the bay leaves and the cloves, and at that point I take out about 1/3rd or the soup, and the other 2/3rds are pureed with a stick blender.

The list of beans. This week it was the turn of Dominican Red Beans, so here is where we are on the list.

  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen - the reference bean)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. Totally delicious just as well. 
  6. Dominican Red beans, delicious. <Bean of the week, this week).
  7. Central American Red beans, next week.
  8. Pink beans - future.
  9. Red Cargamanto - future.
  10. White Cargamanto - future.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006g Rogier's Fusion Bean Soup

The transformation of my soup project is complete.

  • It started out trying to re-create my mother's Bruine Bonensoep (Dutch Brown Bean Soup), which was a favorite dish of my youth, that I have not tasted since I lived in the USA for now 42 years.
  • Then the project evolved to finding out the types of beans that were most similar in taste to the Dutch bruine bonen, which are not available in NYC, where I live. I got up to 4-5 varieties to try, including some of the Dutch beans, which I ordered from the Netherlands. After perfecting the recipe, I froze a bunch of cup-size portions of the soup that was made with the bruine bonen. And every Sunday, I cooked a new batch of soup, and on Monday, I would have the taste test. Of the first five varieties we tried, in the end I probably had a slight preference for the Dutch bruine bonen version, but only slight. Simply all of them were delicious in my book, and while slightly different from one another, at the end of the trip I could not decide if any one of them was simply BEST. The truth was, they were all good. So the next question was, with how many bean varieties can I really make this soup?
  • Eventually, I also realized that I was no longer thinking in terms of recreating bruine bonen soup, and that while I started from the traditional Dutch recipe, the question had now become not which is the best bean to make this soup, but how many varieties of beans that are readily available to me can be used to make this soup. The list is starting to grow, but I am at 10 for now. In the process, I am now calling this recipe Rogier's #WFPB Fusion Bean Soup. Somebody already asked me to open a restaurant based on this recipe. You never know what the future may hold...
  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. Totally deliciouis just as well. This was this week's variety
  6. Dominican Red beans, future.
  7. Central American Red beans, future.
  8. Pink beans.
  9. Red Cargamanto
  10. White Cargamanto.
In short, I now am half way through my new list of 10 bean varieties that all lend themselves to making this style of soup. The recipe is about half beans, half veggies, and it produces a thick soup - the type of soup that I call a meal soup, where a coup and a salad really makes a meal worth living for. A soup you can stick a fork in, so to speak.

The Updated Recipe

Inevitably, the recipe has evolved throughout this exercise, and I am printing the newest version here. The new ingredients are Fennel, and Panch Puran:


Ingredients

===the substance===

1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlottib beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tsp -1tbsp fennel for cooking the beans
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks) - added with the veggies.
1/2 lb of barley - added with the veggies.

===The Base===

1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
1 tbsp summer Savory (note this also helps with digesting beans)
1 tsp-1tbsp Panch Puran
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
2-3 Thai chili, green
1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp Summer Savory
1 tbsp of ground Annato seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika (?)

===The Veggies===

1 leek, washed and sliced fine
1 cup of eddo.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
2-3 carrots peeled & diced
other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, celeriac root etc.
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
3 bay leaves
3 cloves
3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tbsp of either miso or gochujang (or 1 tbsp of each) at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang (or half and half)

Preparation

  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally), with the kombu
  • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and fennel in the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 10 mins.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine, add in the panch puran, and dry roast for 5-7 mins at 350F (Medium High) - until the edges start to brown, but before they stick to the pot.
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and sliced chilis, jalapeños, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another 5-7 mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
  • Add in the cooked beans and the savory and let it simmer together for 15 mins.
  • In a separate pot, add the veggie broth and slowly bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
  • Add in the barley, the cut-up veggies, potato, thyme and other spices and seitan and allow to cook slowly until veggies being to get soft.
  • Add in the beans + the base of onions and allow to simmer another 30 mins or longer
  • Add the tomatoes and more water to gain right consistency
  • You can make the soup thicker by pureeing half or 2/3rds with an immersion blender, while leaving the other half/one third alone, so you can still see some beans and some chunks of vegetable floating in the soup.
  • Finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).
  • Note, if you have people who want it milder, go to the low end with the hot peppers, i.e. 2 chilis, 1 jalapeño. That is just enough for a hint. I then finish it in two batches, one with miso, and from that I put aside an amount for the "mild" customers and one with gochujang for the customers who like it spicy. Then, after I set aside enough "mild" soup, I combine the two. The Gochujang elevates the spicy nature and the miso adds the deep aroma.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006f Small Red Bean Soup

 Ok, here is yet one more variation. Small Red Beans are often used in similar ways as Pinto Beans and Red Kidney Beans, though they taste quite different, so this attempt will introduce a 5th variety of bean in our lineup. By now, I am convinced that this basic recipe is quite flexible and brings out the natural aroma of the beans, so much so that the differences in flavor are merely interesting, and not at all "right" or "wrong." For me personally, the process of this recipe development has led me well past my mother's cooking. No longer am I trying that ever elusive idea of re-creating the flavor of my youth, it is now merely an interesting exercise to try and improve on the last version, but they're simply all good. 

One other new element that I am introducing in this version is Fennel seed (aka. Anise seed), which supposedly also helps with the digestibility of beans, but evidently also tastes good, and this will set me on a new course to make this soup even more aromatic. Along with it, I also added Basil, Cloves, and Oregano, creating a deeper and more complex aroma.

Updated Bean Ratings

Based on today's results, here are my up to date ratings for the different beans in this style soup. Meanwhile I note that the differences are so slight, that I honestly can say I like all of them, and I feel inspired to keep trying more different bean varieties, and appreciate the differences. Meanwhile, it is clear to me that different people have different tastes, and getting the ratings has been very confusing. Just today someone told me that they liked Pinto beans best, whereas I put them near the bottom of the list. So trying to make sense of people's tastes is nearly hopeless, though I try to figure out what it was they liked or did not like.
  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. For the future: rating to be confirmed based on taste testing.
  6. Dominican Red beans, future.
  7. Central American Red beans, future.
  8. Pink beans.
  9. Red Cargamanto
  10. White Cargamanto.

The ever evolving recipe

Bruine Bonen Soep - Reference

The purpose of this recipe was to make a comparison of the taste of different beans, based purely on keeping everything else the same.
I am trying red kidney beans, pinto beans, roman/borlotti/Cranberry beans, Small Red Beans and even bruine bonen from Holland.
Also take note of the site https://bruinebonensoep.com

Ingredients

===the substance===

1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlotti beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, Small Red Beans or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tsp fennel for cooking the beans
1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks).
1/2 lb of barley

===The Base===

1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
2-3 Thai chili, green
1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp Summer Savory
1 tbsp of ground Annato seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika (?)

===The Veggies===

1 leek, washed and sliced fine
1 cup of eddo.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
2-3 carrots peeled & diced
other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, celeriac root etc.
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
3 bay leaves
3 cloves
3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

Preparation
  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally), with the kombu
  • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and fennel and savory in the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 10 mins.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5-7 mins at 350F (Medium High) - until the edges start to brown, but before they stick to the pot.
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and sliced chilis, jalapeños, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another 5-7 mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
  • Add in the cooked beans and let it simmer together for 15 mins.
  • In a separate pot, add the veggie broth and slowly bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
  • Add in the barley, the cut-up veggies, potato, thyme and other spices and seitan and allow to cook slowly until veggies being to get soft.
  • Add in the beans + the base of onions and allow to simmer another 30 mins or longer
  • Add the tomatoes and more water to gain right consistency
  • You can make the soup thicker by pureeing half or 2/3rds with an immersion blender, while leaving the other half/one third alone, so you can still see some beans and some chunks of vegetable floating in the soup.
  • Finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).
  • Note, if you have people who want it milder, go to the low end with the hot peppers, i.e. 2 chilis, 1 jalapeño. That is just enough for a hint. I then finish it in two batches, one with miso, and from that I put aside an amount for the "mild" customers and one with gochujang for the customers who like it spicy. Then, after I set aside enough "mild" soup, I combine the two. The Gochujang elevates the spicy nature and the miso adds the deep aroma.