A couple of weeks ago I took a Fall Soups Cooking Class at PCC Cooks taught by Olaiya Land of The Pantry at Delancey. I love taking cooking classes and this was one of my all-time favorites. Olaiya is not only an accomplished chef but also a fabulous instructor. This class was really hands on and focused on techniques of building soups by layering flavors and components. One of the most interesting ideas I took away from Olaiya’s class is using your seasoned bean liquid as stock . I love this idea and it’s endless possibilities!
There were three delicious soups featured during class. My absolute favorite was a Country Butterbean, which was my inspiration for this soup.
Now don’t be scared by this recipe – yes, it is a Sunday Supper, so it takes a bit longer to make than most of my other recipes, but this soup is sooo worth it! I have made a couple batches and can not manage to stockpile it in our freezer because we just keep grabbing it, it’s so good.
- The dried beans are a must for this soup. The bean cooking liquid becomes the “stock” or base of the soup and adds an amazing depth of flavor.
- Since carrots are a major ingredient here, make sure to buy the best looking organic carrots you can find – it will really make a difference! Also, I rarely peel my carrots unless they look damaged or old (or are not organic). I usually just scrub them really well.
- In case you can’t find fresh marjoram, substitute fresh oregano.
- If you haven’t cooked with Parmesan rind, read up on it here in the notes section.
- I only used 1/3 pound of Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage for the whole soup. You can buy 1 link from the butcher at Whole Foods (behind the case). It should be less than $2.
Recipe Adapted From: Country Butterbean Soup by Olaiya Land
- SECTION ONE:
- 2 cups dry butterbeans (baby lima beans)
- water for soaking
- 2 or 3 sprigs parsley
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 8 cups fresh water
- SECTION TWO:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large (or 2 small) yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
- 1 Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage (approx ⅓ pound), removed from casing and crumbled
- 5 to 6 carrots, cut into rounds
- 4.5 to 5 cups of soaked butterbeans (yield from the 2 cups dry above)
- 3 cups bean liquid
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, finely chopped
- 2" to 3" Parmesan rind
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- SOAKING & COOKING THE DRIED BEANS: Sort your dry beans and remove any rocks, damaged and / or odd shaped beans. Soak dry beans uncovered overnight or all day (at least 8 hours) by placing in a large pot and covering with water by about 4 or 5 inches.
- Drain from soaking liquid and combine beans with remaining ingredients (parsley, garlic, salt, and 8 cups fresh water) from "Section One". Bring to a boil, skim foam off and lower heat to a simmer. It should look like this when you get the foam off. Let simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are very tender but not falling apart. This is what it looked like after 45 minutes to give a sense of how much water was absorbed.
- Set a colander over another pot, large bowl, or large measuring cup.
- Proceed to drain the beans RESERVING the bean liquid into the bowl or pot. Remove large pieces of parsley sprigs.
- You should have approximately 4.5 to 5 cups of cooked beans and approximately 3 to 3.5 cups of bean liquid. Set aside.
- PREP (for SECTION TWO): Now we will prep the remaining ingredients.
- Smash garlic cloves with the back side of your chef's knife and then finish by chopping.
- Finely chop onion.
- Remove marjoram leaves from stem and finely chop. Now, do the same with the parsley. Put the 1 tablespoon of chopped marjoram and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley in the bowl with the cooked beans along with the Parmesan rind and kosher salt.
- Scrub carrots (and peel if necessary), cut into evenly sized rounds.
- Remove sausage from casing and crumble into a dish.
- Measure fennel seeds into a small dish. Finally, measure red pepper flakes into a separate dish.
- COOKING: Heat heavy bottom soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, once hot, add garlic, onion, and fennel seeds. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
- Next, add in chicken sausage, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, using a flat spoon to break up into bite sized pieces.
- Now add in carrots and ⅛ cup of bean liquid. Turn heat to a low light and cook until carrots smash easily with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes (start testing them at 20 minutes).
- Remove lid, add in beans (with herbs, Parm rind, etc.), remaining bean liquid, and additional 2 cups of water. When pouring bean liquid into soup, be sure to discard cloudy remains at bottom of measuring cup
- Simmer on low, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.
- When done, add in crushed red pepper and serve. Excellent garnished with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.