Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dutch Bullet Bean and Roasted Squash Soup

Enough testosterone-driven, world domination food fare. Let's talk about what to cook when it's cold and drizzly outside and everyone in the house has the sniffles. The answer of course is soup. And if you have approximately 23 pounds of heirloom beans in the cellar, the answer of course is bean soup. We also had a nice selection of winter vegetables from the farmers market at the Eugene Holiday Market, including a delicata squash and a kohlrabi. I usually think of a bean and vegetable soup as some variant of a minestrone, but I was inspired by a pumpkin and white bean soup from the Green's Cookbook that incorporated beans into a creamy squash soup. I thought the Lonesome Whistle Farm Dutch bullet beans, a small golden variety, might go well with the delicata squash roasted with herbs (similar to a preparation by Jamie Oliver). 

My son helped me brush the squash quarters with olive oil and sprinkle on fennel seeds, herbs de Provence, and red pepper flakes, and we roasted these for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, we simmered the squash seeds and pulp in 4 cups of chicken broth to make a quick stock.

I chopped onion, carrots, and kohlrabi and sauteed these in some olive oil until soft. Then I added the squash stock and the roasted squash, scooped from the peel, and simmered these until the vegetables were very soft.

I'd soaked 1 cup of the Dutch bullet beans during the morning, and now I simmered them on very gentle heat with a couple sprigs of thyme and 2 cups of water for about an hour until they were tender. Then I pureed the squash and vegetables with an immersion blender, and mixed in the beans with their liquid. To finish the soup, I added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for sharpness to balance the sweetness of the squash. The creamy texture of the pureed vegetables with the roasted squash and herb flavors and a slight bitterness from the kohlrabi, contrasted nicely with the small, round, meaty beans.

I'd prepared a swiss chard and mushroom quiche for brunch (also adapted from a Green's Cookbook recipe, but with added leftover mushrooms from Eric's shooter sandwich and almonds instead of pine nuts because of the latter's short supply). This was the perfect accompaniment to a restorative soup.

Dutch bullet bean and roasted squash soup

1 cup (1/2 lb) Dutch bullet beans (could substitute small white kidney beans)
1 delicata squash
1 onion
1 kohlrabi
3 small or 2 medium carrots
3 cloves garlic
4 cups chicken stock
olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
a few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1. Soak the beans for 4-8 hours until the plump up. Then change the water and simmer them with a few springs of thyme and 2 cups of water until soft, about 1 hour. Discard the thyme stems.

2. Halve squash and scoop out seeds and pulp into a sauce pan with 4 cups of chicken stock. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Brush squash quarters with olive oil and sprinkle over fennel seeds, herbs de Provence, and red pepper flakes. Roast in an oven or toaster over at 450 degrees until they start to brown a little and are soft through, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop the roasted squash from the skin.

3. Meanwhile peel and chop the onion, carrots, kohlrabi, and garlic. Saute in olive oil in a dutch oven until soft. Strain the squash stock into the pot and add the roasted squash. Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are very soft. Puree with an immersion blender, and add the cooked beans with their liquid. Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and adjust seasonings. 

Here's the recipe for the Green's Swiss chard tart.

And here are some other recipes for heirloom beans:
Rio Zape Beans with Toasted Chile Sauce
Arikara bean gratin 
Calypso bean and leek soup


Suzi Steffen said...

Thanks, Karen! I also bought the 24 lb. bean share & am getting ready to cook a couple more bean recipes this week (trying to do at least one a week ... ). The first is Molly Katzen's Black Beans and Mango Sauce with the Rio Zapes, and then I thought I'd better find a recipe for the Dutch bullets as well.

And ... this is the first result on Google for Dutch button bean recipe, so congrats. :) Soon all of us with the share will be hitting up your post.

I'll make it vegetarian by altering the stock, but otherwise, nom nom nom. Really appreciate it!

Suzi Steffen

The Lucky Godmother said...

Dutch Bullet are also delicious cooked in a very straight forward way: onion, celery, carrot sauté; add thyme, a little rosemary and sage. Throw it all into the pre-soaked beans. They make their own yummy "gravy." Anyone who thinks beans have no flavor should try these!

Karen said...

Jackie, that sounds delicious. I just posted a similar Dutch bullet "risotto" with fresh herbs and lemon.