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


===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

  • 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.

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