It’s BEAN season (or actually the season for those dried beans that we should use up during the winter) and I don’t feel like I eat enough of them, which ideally would be at least once a week, whether they’re chickpeas or lentils or fancier mixes and my absolute favorite : giant LIMA BEANS (also called BUTTER BEANS in English and GIGANTES in Greek) ! This is why this week’s recipe uses 5 different beans in a soup base made of broth, 5 pureed vegetables and cream for a hearty dish !
Using 5 different beans of 3 different sizes may seem complicated but only if you make it complicated. Listen up.
When soaking beans before adding them to your broth or soup base, they should ideally double in weight and they won’t absorb any more after that point. A little baking soda and salt in the water also helps with water absorption as well as any gassy effects after eating them. If they’re soaked in colder temperatures, like a cellar or refrigerator, the different size beans will soak water more gently and equally and 12 hours soaking time is perfect.
Cooking beans of different sizes requires some planning. What I mean is that you should soak each type of bean separately according to size and then add them to your boiling broth separately too, according to size. The soaked giant or large beans first for 30 minutes, the soaked medium beans secondly for another 30 minutes and the soaked really small beans last for another 30 minutes.
To recap for this recipe, giant lima beans will need 90 minutes cooking time, the medium-sized red kidney and spotted cannellini beans will need 60 minutes and the small coco beans and green flageolet beans will require only 30 minutes (some adjustments may be necessary depending if simmering them gently or less gently).
Thickening up this soup broth is due to the addition of a thickening mixture of one-third cream (whether light or heavy) and two-thirds pureed vegetables, thus creating a healthier but just as smooth and satisfying soup.
The idea is to create a thick & creamy vegetable soup with lots of whole cooked tender and tasty beans floating around and melting in your mouth … :)