This post is also available in: Romanian
The summer days are gone and they took with them all the sun, all the warmth and almost all the life that used to stir the world outside. Now, nothing’s moving. Only a yellowed leaf makes courage to swing from the branch and fall in agony on the ground. The November rain left behind silence and cleanness. A surreal atmosphere covers the earth. The light sparkles through the lead sky, the trees are quiet and the people seam to hide inside their homes.
Inside, the cat has hidden the head the pillow and it’s sleeping snoring lightly. A ball of stripped fluff who begins to come closer and closer to the radiator’s heat. And, in the stillness of the house, I find my peace in the kitchen, between flavors and hot steam.
I find the soup to be a heart warming dish, one that hugs you into its’ arms. It embraces you with heat and the taste travels to your body and goes directly to your soul. And the bean soup is a dish I remember from my childhoods’ winters. Then when my granny used to make any problem disappear once you entered her kitchen and she put in front of you a steaming bowl of soup. The steams, the atmosphere, the warmth, the flavor! All of these turned a rainy day into a celebration.
My bean soup is a recreation of a moment and of an emotion and for me it doesn’t necessarily represent food but food for soul.
Probably and experienced chef would give you a precise recipe and accurate measurements and ingredients. I tell you to use the flavors you like, in an amount and combinations that makes you happy. This soup is a joy if earthy, woody herbs and garlic so join the game and use your one mixes. You have here the approximate amounts I guide by.
Rosemary bean soup
250 grams dried white beans
30-50 ml extravirgin and extra good olive oil
2,3 springs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leafs
2 springs of thyme
1 head of garlic
a splash of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
freshly grounded pepper
1,5 – 2 liters of water
*grated parmesan (optional)
– peeled and halved garlic
– olive oil
Soak the beans in water overnight. When preparing the soup, place the rinsed beans in a pot and cover with water and boil on low heat until half done. Change the water and optional, throw in a couple of herbs for enhancing the beans flavor. Take care you have enough water for boiling, so that you are left with 1,5 – 2 liters of liquid which you will use for the soup. Continue boiling until almost done. The cooking will be perfected while making the soup. Stop the heat. Strain the beans but keep the water.
Put a pot on low heat and gently heat the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and the rest of the herbs, sweat them a bit and let flavors embrace. You don’t want to burn the oil or the herbs so the the heat low. When the gorgeous smell of warm aromas gets to your nose, mix a little more and add the beans. Mix in with the herbs and oil and add the rest of the condiments: lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. After mixing and sweating them a little more to develop flavor, add the preserved liquid and keep the pot on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add as much liquid as you want to get a lighter or denser soup.
To the end of the cooking time, taste, season. Turn the heat and allow the soup to rest a little. And the same to you with a glass of something*. Or with the cat .. Depending on what you have.
When preparing to have serve the soup, toast some good bread slices on the stove or under the broiler, rub them with garlic and drizzle the with olive oil on both sides. As a serving presentation idea, you can place the bruchettas on a wooden board, drizzle them with extra oil and sprinkle with grains of salt and place on the herbs springs.
Put the soup in bowls, add chopped parsley and optional grated parmesan and prepare to say “Ah!”
Like the sweet life (La dolce vita!), share it and enjoy it with the loved one. As what is made out of love must give back love.