This time of year I’m normally ready to begin to transition to my cooler weather wardrobe and recipes. However, we’ve had nothing but smoky skies and record breaking temperatures lately. It’s a haunting reminder of the October 2017 Tubbs wildfire that took our home and everything we owned. I feel a dichotomy of normalcy as I sit here in my newly rebuilt home. Same lot, different house, same neighborhood, no trees, same hot wind of that night, when it should be cooler. The new normal for September and October in Northern California, of fires and grey smoke-filled skies, doesn’t feel like the evenings of this time yesteryear but does feel like Halloween is around the corner. So the question is what to cook? Do I transitions to soups, stews and pumpkin pie just because the weather should be transitioning? Well… I’m pretty darn traditional so my answer is a resounding yes!
I chose this savory bowl of beans, potatoes, kale and herbs to make for dinner tonight. This soup cooks quickly so won’t heat up the house. The flavor is so robust that it’s hard to believe it didn’t sit on the back of the stove simmering all day.
This recipe calls for cannellini beans. If you have the time I would recommend using dried beans, over canned, because they are more cost effective, will produce less gas and are tastier. They have a fuller and butterier flavor. The drawback is the time it takes to prepare the beans before you start the actual recipe. If you’re like me and forget to soak the beans the night before, here is a quick-soak method:
Rinse the beans, then put in a saucepan, cover with an inch of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes and then let them soak for an hour off the heat, drain and rinse, and then add fresh water and continue cooking. Soaked cannellini will cook in 60 to 90 minutes.
Beans are high in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Unfortunately they can be difficult to digest. To make them easier to digest (and produce less gas) it’s important to rinse the beans three times and very, very well each time. This will help to remove a good amount of the enzymes and sugar coating from the beans that causes the gas. Rinse, with a colander, once before you soak them, once after soaking and once after cooking/before using them in a recipe.
Whether you choose to soak or use canned beans the end result will be a delicious, savory soup to enjoy this night as the leaves begin to turn and we transition to fall.