Tuesday, September 29, 2009

White Bean Soup with Ground Chicken and Pork

I have been a terrible blogger lately- Fall is upon us here in Boston- and I have been out enjoying the crisp temperatures. But with those beautiful temperatures comes my love of warming comfort foods- nutrition for the body and the soul. Nothing says "comfort" to me like a big pot of soup, simmering on the stove promising to bring me back to the days of sitting in my mothers kitchen, perched on a stool behind the stove watching her add ingredients, taste the product and add some more ingredients. My obsession for the past couple of weeks has been the glorious Roasted Vegetable Soup (Stew) with Turkey Meatballs I made a few weeks back. Several batches later and I'm still enjoying the delicate blends of flavors and the fun of the different textures. However last night, being short on time, I decided to try something a bit faster to put together, a thinned white bean soup with ground chicken, and veggies.
After a particularly grueling gym session, I headed to the store to pick up the ingredients I thought I needed: Spinach, green beans, Serrano pepper, carrots, yellow onion, celery, parsley, sage, ground chicken, Cannelloni beans, chicken stock and a nice crusty loaf of whole wheat bread. There were a few disappointments to be had- short on ground chicken so I settled for a package of ground chicken, and a package of ground pork. Obviously this was not going to be AS healthy as I was hoping. Later, in the bean aisle- it appeared that there was a run on beans- why? I have no idea- but those were some barren shelves. Completely out of Cannelloni beans- I settled for a can of butter beans, and a can of Pinto beans. Fine, groceries paid for- off back home to start putting it together.
First task- finely dice onion, carrots, celery and a little salt, begin to saute with just a touch of olive oil in a pan-then add chopped Serrano pepper, and chopped sage-when the kitchen was smelling delicious- I added the ground meat to the mix, stirring frequently to brown it all. I then turned my attention to my base- into my food processor went several very small peeled cloves of garlic, and several handfuls of parsley- then both cans of beans (drained) into the mix. I began to pulse this to puree it, and then began adding the chicken stock- when all was said and done- I added about half a container of chicken stock. Back at the stove, I transferred all my browned meat and veggies into a soup pot, and then added about 10 oz of a beautiful fall Pumpkin Beer, and allowed it to cook down a bit- when satisfied with its reduction-I added the white bean puree to the pot. Then I set to work on just chopping some green beans into bite sized pieces, adding them to the soup, adding some frozen corn kernels to the mix, and then finally adding in a few big handfuls of baby spinach leaves. A stir around the pot, a simmer for a few minutes, and I began my own taste testing. Apparently the Serrano pepper did not contain enough heat-so a few drops of hot sauce went in, a bit more salt, and then another maybe three ounces of the beer, and the soup was ready to simmer for about a half hour, forty five minutes before I could spoon myself out a nice bowl for dinner.
This soup is delicious. My original picture had been of a thicker stew type meal, but this has a beautiful velvety smooth broth to it- beefed up with beans and a nice earthy flavor. The pumpkin from the beer is a nice background taste of fall- though the pumpkin flavor is indiscernible. The chicken/pork combination breaks up the broth-though it would be fine on its own, and the veggies are a love texture variation and boot of vitamins. I ate it with a quickly grilled slice of the whole wheat bread and it was a meal fit for a king- or at least- an exhausted girl after a busy day!
Future notes- Ill blanch the green beans prior to adding them to the pot to see if I can get them to maintain their pretty green color a bit better, and I think a bit more sage to make that flavor really come a live. Otherwise though- wow- I cant wait to have another bowl!

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