Friday, December 12, 2008

Mixed Bean Soup with Sweet Potato

In a concerted effort to eat more fiber, I've been concocting a pot of soup on a weekly basis that features a legume-vegetable team, or more than one. My efforts have paired notably well with the cooler weather, making it not only an easy but also a comforting task to complete.

This particular soup was inspired by a few cups of adzuki beans I found in bulk at The Merc in Lawrence. They're a pretty red, speckled with yellow, and I bought them just because I'm a shallow graphic designer type. Like with most things, they were somewhat disappointing. Their vibrant colors wore off in the cooking, so feel free to substitute another bean instead.

Mixed Bean Soup with Sweet Potato

2 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 cups dried adzuki beans, rinsed and drained (pre-soaked, if necessary*)
14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz can pureed tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock (or water + bullion cubes)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the shallots and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until the soup simmers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft, about an hour. Fish out the bay leaf and taste the soup. Add more salt or pepper as needed. Serve warm with garlic toast.

*Depending on where you live and how fresh your beans are, you may need to soak them first. If you are unsure, it doesn't hurt to start this way. First pick over the beans to make sure they're free of stones. Then rinse them thoroughly in cold water, place them in a bowl and fill the bowl with cool water just to cover the beans. Let sit for two hours, then drain the beans and cook.

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