February 3, 2012

Souper Bowl

Adzuki Bean Soup

I realize this soup does not photograph well. I also realize nothing about the weather here on the east coast warrants a warm, hearty soup (I would probably be better off grilling something outside with these temperatures), but in all seriousness, this soup was awesome. If I owned an immersion blender I'd say it was totally awesome, but those transferring, processing and blending splatters are still on my window, some cloves of garlic and some books I had nearby. Regardless, I've waited too long to try this, because it is my new favorite soup.

I used adzuki beans, also spelled and known as aduki and azuki, which are frequently used in Japanese and macrobiotic cooking. If you've ever had red bean ice cream or used red bean paste for a dish, the bean used to make it was the adzuki. (Random fact: In 2009, Pepsi Japan released an adzuki flavored Pepsi product. It is the most used bean in the country, followed the soy bean.) I really should just use them instead of most legumes at this point, not only because I love the taste of them, but I also love what they offer; besides being high in fiber, they are also high in folate, protein, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and magnesium... as well as being a great food to treat those dark circles under your eyes. Be it alcohol, too much caffeine or a diet high in saturated fats, if eaten once a week or a few times a month, this soup is said to help with those raccoon eyes.

I know I could do this once a week too. I feel I tasted more of a buttery flavor, versus a sweet flavor, which could be the beans in combination with the various spices and the little bit of sesame oil used to cook the carrots and celery at first. I also used a homemade stock and a homemade broth, each with different ingredients that I don't quite remember, so those could each have imparted their own distinct flavor. It was satisfying, and besides the blending part it was a cinch to make, and "leftovers" I was very happy to come home too. I also only pureed about half the pot, giving it a soup/stew texture. (Rachel Ray has a word for this, oh yes, "stoup".) One night I just added lime juice, the next I added some lime zest and some extra cilantro, just for an extra, fresh kick.

I am not wish this mild weather away, but its bound to get colder. And we are all bound to eat or drink something in excess to cause those dark, puffy circles at some point. Let's see if this soup will do the trick.

Adzuki Bean Soup
(adapted from Susan Ciminelli, of the Susan Ciminelli Day Spa, in Manhattan, NY)

* 2 cups adzuki beans, soaked overnight in water to cover (the beans can be purchased in bulk at most health food stores and the Eden brand, in BPA free lined cans, be found in larger grocery stores)
*1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
*1 small onion, chopped
*1 carrot, chopped
*1 stalk celery, chopped
*2 tsp cumin
*1/2 tsp turmeric
*3 garlic cloves, chopped
*2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
*2 quarts chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
*sea salt
*white pepper
*freshly squeezed lime juice
*freshly chopped cilantro

Drain the beans after soaking. Place the beans, along with 5 cups of cold water, in a large, heavy-bottom pot and bring to a boil. Cook 1 hour, or until tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

In the same pot (that is, if you put the beans aside in another dish- just trying to save you washing out or finding another large pot!) heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, cumin and turmeric, and sauté until tender, about 8 or 9 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the soup in batches to a blender- or use your immersion blender! Return the pureed soup to the pot and reheat. Add the lime juice, zest if you'd like, and cilantro just before serving. Adjust seasonings if necessary. This soup should serve 6, or will keep one person happy for several days.

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