If you live in Chicago like me, you have to admit we have been pretty lucky with the weather so far this fall. That's been great news for all of the outdoor grilling classes we've hosted on our Lincoln Square patio this year. We have just a few more remaining this week, and we've been reminding our students to BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) to keep cozy under our new heaters while the chef teaches you how to prepare a delicious meal.
The best part of cooler weather for me is making cozy soups and rustic bread. I remember last year on my annual trip to Germany, I made a brief stop in Frankfurt to visit a dear friend of mine, and they had a little food stand serving warm lentil soup and Gluhwein in the town square. What a great idea!
The beauty of soup is its versatility. It can be made with meat, poultry, seafood or simply vegetables. One of the key components to a good soup is having a great stock as your base. Another perk of making soup is that you can make a large batch and freeze it in smaller portions. Most soups freeze easily and are best enjoyed the day after they are made.
In this simple delicious French-style 5 bean soup, I did not soak the beans ahead of time. If you are planning to do so, reduce the cooking time to half. Beans are best soaked in water overnight in your refrigerator. You do want to discard the water you soaked the beans in.
French-Style 5 Bean Soup
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 4-6 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: one hour 30 minutes
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 medium-size red onion, medium diced
2 medium-size carrots, medium diced
4 stalks of celery, medium diced
2 bay leaves
8 oz diced smoked ham
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8 cups of stock (chicken stock, veal stock or beef stock)
3 cups of dried beans such as:
- Black eyed peas
- Baby lima beans
- Green split peas
- Green and red lentils
1 Tablespoon chopped tarragon for garnish
Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat and add the grapeseed oil. Once the pot is hot, add the diced vegetables and let them cook until glazed and aromatic.
2. Add the smoked diced ham, and let it cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Continue by adding the tomato paste, let it cook for about 2 minutes, add the apple cider vinegar, deglazing the pan, then add the beans and 7 cups of the stock.
4. Save one cup of the stock. You might need to add this toward the end of the cooking, if the soup is too thick.
5. Bring the soup to a boil, check the seasoning by adding salt, pepper and the bay leaves.
6. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes, until the beans are soft.
7.Once the beans are soft, you should be able to break them down with the back of your spoon.
8. If your soup is thick, add the reserved one cup of stock.
9. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the chopped tarragon and shaved Parmesan cheese.
This soup is best enjoyed with a nice slice of rustic bread.
Fall soups are this week's challenge for our private Facebook group. Make any type of fall soup you like and share a photo and recipe with other group members. Let's see what you're cooking up this week! #tcbcookingchallenge