Recipe: Hearty bean soup
Even though I live in Melbourne and it can be beanie weather in December, I relish the onset of Autumn as it means that it's officially Soup Season! I love a good soup and this is one of the best.
I was given the original recipe by a friend and because it featured chicken it took me a loooong time to get around to making it (I'm personally not a big fan of meat in soup). Too long, in fact. Especially when I read through to end of the recipe where it said 'to create a vegetarian option, simply remove the chicken!' Yes, of course - why didn't I think of that!? Anyway, since that fateful day I have made this over, and over, and over again, adding subtle changes along the way to get to a truly great soup. If you don't have borlotti beans but do have chickpeas (or any other form of bean for that matter) add them instead!
It's hearty (hence the name!), nutritious, nourishing and, because the beans cook for so long, they become easier to digest and shouldn't result in any bloating or wind. It's also really cheap to make and I find that I always have the ingredients on-hand. The spices give the soup a Mexican feel and please don't skip the lemon juice at the end - it really gives the whole dish a lift.
The soup, ends up becoming more like a stew so you might like to add a little bit of water as you reheat (say, a quarter of a cup per bowl), otherwise just enjoy the soup/stew for what it is!
1 tbs olive oil
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 small carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbs fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 - 2 tsp dried chili flakes (depending on your taste - it's also amazing with a whole red chilli chopped and thrown in instead of the flakes!)
6 cups of vegetable stock
800g tin of tomatoes
1 cup dried red lentils
1 can borlotti beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup brown rice
Juice of one lemon
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan on medium. Saute the celery, carrot and onion for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and chili and cook for a further minute, until fragrant.
Stir in the stock, lentils, tomatoes and beans. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat so the soup is left to simmer, uncovered for 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After the soup has simmered for the instructed time, add the brown rice and simmer again, uncovered for a further 45-50 minutes. Make sure you stir every 10 minutes or so as at this point the rice and lentils like to have a party on the bottom of the pan which does not make for a happy cooking experience (trust me).
Stir in the lemon juice and you're done!
Hearty bean soup in all its glory! Topped here with mashed avocado and some store-bought dukkah. I prefer a thicker, stew-like consistency so I haven't added too much water.