On with the vegetarian theme. This is not quite vegetarian because I added a little smoked bacon to the soup. You can also make the same soup with black beans.
This, as all soups are, is great this time of the year. You can make a big batch of this soup and freeze it in portions ready to be thawed and eaten. This particular soup was made some time in June and it was just as delicous today as it was then. You should freeze these soups as quickly as possible and when you take them out of the freezer you should give them about 3 minutes in the micro wave and then onto the stove. Get them hot as fast as possible as a matter of principal and habit.
To make this soup you will need:
As much navy beans as you want soup. I think 2 to 3 ozs of beans per portion. Steeped the night before.
equal quanitities of onion, carrot , leek and celery all cut up in small dice about as the same size as the bean or a tiny bit larger. The amount of diced vegetables should add up to about one third of the volume of beans and maybe more. Better more than less.
Bay leaf, thyme and if you like spicy a jalapeno pepper or a pepper of your choice
Plenty of chopped garlic
a little tomato paste and a little flour.
Olive oil and a touch of vinegar.
Salt and Pepper.
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the vegetables. Sweat the vegetables until you can smell the flavors combining. Drain and add the beans to the vegetables continue cooking for a minute or so. Add the vinegar and cook it out completely. The vinegar is just to give it a little edge so you just need a little.
Then add the tomato paste and combine everything with the heat for a few minutes.
Add the garlic and do the same thing.
Then add a little flour just to keep things together. Not too much or the soup will be too thick. Finally season with salt and pepper.
Allow to cook for a minute or two and then add either water or stock.
Bring to boil on the stove, then transfer to slow cooker and cook for a few hours.
Correct seasoning and serve.
If you are not vegetarian add some bacon to the oil to cook the vegetables. A smoked ham bone is also good.
There are a few things you can add to this soup as you serve it. Here is a little list.
Chopped fresh tomato
Parsley or Cilantro.
A little lime juice.
Remember that improvisation makes a good cook.
As for the salad:
This salad is just greens with a warm hard boiled egg out of the pot. Some radishes , a few scallions and a half a tomato. There are also some croutons that have been fried in olive oil and had chopped garlic added to them at the end and then seasoned.
This is one of my favorite dressings.
Chop up some onion or shallot and put it in the bottom of a mixing bowl, chop up a some garlic and do the same. Add a little dijon mustard and then stir in some olive oil. When it starts to thicken add some red wine vinegar. Everyone likes their dressing different. I like mine very sharp but you may not. Play with the quantities until you get the desired taste. If your dressing is exactly as you want it but is too thick you can add a little warm water to thin it.