Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beans, Greens and Tomaters!

   What makes beets even more incredible is that they are two, two, two vegetables in one.  The greens can be utilized as they are quite flavorful.  You can use them interchangeably with Swiss Chard, to which they are closely related. Or if you've never used Chard, think of them as a sturdier Spinach.
   My mother and grandmother would often cook beet greens in tomato sauce, which I adore.  But I was in the mood for soup, so I decided to take their idea and soup it up. 

   I found these amazing beans called "Mortgage Lifter" in the bulk section of a natural foods store.  So named, apparently, because their bountiful crop helped a farmer pay off his mortgage.  Nice!  They cook into a large, meaty and creamy bean.  How perfect to bulk up the soup.  I soaked a cup of them overnight then simmered them for 1hour and 15 minutes in 4 cups of vegetable stock.  They are greedy suckers and need a bit more moisture than most.
   Following is a recipe for the soup.  Great for the cooler days ahead, and remember most soups freeze beautifully.

Beans, Greens and Tomato Soup
Serves 6

2 TBS              Olive Oil
1 cup                Onions, diced
1 24 oz. can     Crushed Tomatoes
2 cups              Vegetable Stock
½ bunch           Sage
½ bunch           Thyme
1 bunch            Beet Greens, destemmed and roughly chopped
3 cups              White Beans, cooked

Heat a soup pot over high heat.  Add the olive oil and heat through.  Toss in the onions and turn the heat to medium high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the Tomatoes and stock. Using kitchen twine, tie the sage and thyme into a rough bundle and toss in with the tomatoes.  Mix in the beet greens. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and cook for 10 minutes more.  Remove the herb bundle, season with salt and pepper and serve.