This wonderful recipe comes from Christine of Cook the Story.
When I’m going out for the evening I ask my husband what I should pick-up for his dinner. He always says “Don’t worry, I’ll find something.” But buy a can of baked beans because that’s what he’ll search for when hunger hits.
When he makes chili I add beans to the grocery list without glancing in the pantry because I know that he’s used every legume in the house.
When we’re out for dinner, if there’s a Pasta e Fagioli or a Cassoulet on the menu I know before he does what he’ll order.
And yet, when he asks what’s for dinner and I answer, “Bean Soup” he doesn’t exactly Cha Cha over to the drawer for a soup spoon. In fact, he kind of slumps with disappointment.
Despite his unenthusiastic response, I know that he’ll scoop the bowl dry and then ask for more because my husband is subconsciously in love with beans. He loves beans but he doesn’t seem to know it.
If I want an enthusiastic response to “Bean Soup” I’ve learned that I have to give my husband something more than just beans to get excited about. I have to give my bean soups a Cha-Cha-worthy twist and an interesting title.
This bean soup is colored with saffron, spiced with smoked paprika and deepened with chorizo. Those Spanish flavors dance when each bowl is topped with a piece of Manchego garlic toast and then popped under the broiler. And of course, there’s that exciting title: 13 Bean Flamenco Soup with Garlicky Manchego Toast
Exciting title aside, it’s still a simple hearty bean soup that lets the beans shine so that those who are aware of their bean-love can shimmy and shake with anticipation as well.
13 Bean Flamenco Soup with Garlicky Manchego Toast
To make this soup vegetarian, use vegetable broth, omit the sausage, add ½ teaspoon more of the smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
- 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix, soaked (see soaking instructions below)
- ½ of a medium Sweet Onion (such as vidalia), chopped
- 2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and finely chopped, divided
- 1 tsp smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp dried Thyme Leaves
- 2 Carrots diced
- 2 nice pinches of Saffron
- 48 ounces of unsalted Chicken Broth or Stock
- 14.5 ounce can of Petite Cut Tomatoes with the Juice
- Kosher Salt
- Coarse Black Pepper
- ½ lb Spicy Spanish Chorizo or Portuguese Chorico, finely diced
- 1/3 lb Manchego, grated (substitution: Mozzarella mixed with a bit of Parmesan)
- 2 tbsp of chopped Parsley
- 1 plump and juicy Garlic Clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 8-10 slices of Multigrain Bread
In a soup pot or Dutch oven combine the soaked beans, onion, three-quarters of the red pepper, the smoked paprika, thyme, carrots, saffron and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until the beans are beginning to tenderize, about 30-45 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, 1 and ½ teaspoons of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of coarse black pepper. Return pot to a simmer and cook until beans have reached the desired level of tenderness. For me, that’s another 45 more minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until it’s warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl combine the Manchego with the remaining bell pepper, parley, garlic and olive oil. Toast the bread.
When the soup is ready, preheat your broiler. Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls. Top each bowl of soup with a toast and 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Transfer the bowls to a large baking sheet (this makes it easier to carry them and easier to get them out from under the broiler ). Put the baking sheet full of bowls under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling and just beginning to brown.
Cha Cha over to the silverware drawer for some soup spoons and enthusiastically scoop the bowls dry.
(Soaking dry beans: The easiest way is to combine them with 3-4 times their volume of water and leave them out over night. I never remember to do that. People claim that you can instead cover them with all that water, bring them to a boil, remove them from the heat, cover and leave them for an hour. When I do this the cooking times in recipes don’t match up to my reality. I instead bring the beans to a boil but then let them sit for at least 2 hours and even 3 hours if there’s time. However you you’re your beans, don’t be discouraged if the specified cooking times still don’t work out for you. Cooking beans depends on their soaking but also on how old the beans are and sometimes on the ingredients you’ve combined with them (acids and salt for instance can slow the cooking time in some situations). Just start early enough in the day so that you can let them simmer until they’re how you like them.)
Christine Pittman is the recipe developer, writer and photographer at Cook the Story, where it’s all about the story (except when it’s about the food!). She’s a Canadian stay-at-home mom who has somehow found herself living in Florida. Her recipes are simple, fresh and from scratch while her writing is simple, fresh and from her funny bone. You don’t want to miss any of her real food, real writing or flavorful pictures so be sure to follow her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+!