I was hoping for snow last night, but that didn’t happen. Probably just as well since the turkeys really dislike snow. They walk through it like one of those fancy show horses, lifting one foot high, pausing then lowering the slightly warmer foot to raise the cold one. A few years back we had that 3 inches or so of snow that stayed on the ground for almost a week. By day three the turkeys had simply given up and retreated to their barn to wait it out.
But snow or not, today is definitely a soup day. Which one, which one?
The nice part is that I now have quarts and quarts of turkey broth to use for the base. I did thirty birds the week before Thanksgiving. Why thirty? Because it turns out that thirty is the number of birds my commercial refrigerator will hold, and since the birds must rest for 3 days before they’re edible, thirty was the number I did. That leaves me with another twenty-seven to do to bring the flock down to ten hens and my two toms. I’m hoping next year TommyTwo is able to step up to the plate, as it were, and take over for Tom. But if he doesn’t or Tom won’t let him, then I don’t want to have twenty hens eating up my expensive organic feed and not giving me babies in return.
All this is a thought for later, since those turkey girls won’t even be considering nests and eggs until next April…which brings me back to my looming dinner menu and the soup of the day. Black Bean Soup is what I want. With freshly baked sourdough rolls, which I will have by five o’clock, and a bit of goat yogurt my dinner will be grand, indeed.
I’ve fallen in love with black beans and their rich smoky taste. I don’t even bother adding broth. If I want something really healthy, I add onions, peppers, including one cayenne pepper for sparkle, and arugula. If you don’t remember, I have encouraged arugula to grow wherever it wants on my property, hence it shows up often in my recipes. It’s a great green with a wonderful nutty, peppery flavor and an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 604, right under spinach. Like spinach, arugula contains high levels of oxalic acid and some folks suggest it’s better eaten cooked than raw. Me, I’m more concerned about making sure I don’t accidentally bring in a few cottonwood leaves in my arugula bunches. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter–even cooked arugula it holds onto its great taste.
But what about the embarrassing side effect of eating beans, you might ask? Well, interestingly enough there are some easy home remedies to address that issue. First and foremost, make your bean soup from scratch, starting with dried beans instead of canned. The long soaking period helps to break down some of the good-for-you fiber that causes the issue in the first place. After that, consider adding a teaspoon of ground coriander or fennel to your bean dish. Both will help prevent flatulence. The fennel will add a hint of licorice while the flavor of coriander, being cilantro seed, melds well with the beans. If you don’t have the seeds, try peppermint tea or even chamomile. Or just go the ignorance route and act as outraged as everyone else when the issue issues.
When it comes to soaking and cooking beans, I say there’s no easier way to do it than in a crock pot, although others might argue for a pressure cooker. I have never used a pressure cooker, so I can’t speak to that. Those of you who have, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.
Measure out a pound of beans and sort them. As much as I hate this step, I always do it. There was one tiny stone in the pound I soaked last night, but, you know, if I’d missed it, I would have surely broken a tooth on it. Put the picked-over beans into the crock pot, add 6 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of Celtic Sea Salt (or other unrefined, mineral dense salt) and let soak overnight. The next morning drain off the water, rinse the beans then return them to the crock pot with 6 cups of fresh water and a teaspoon of salt, turn the pot on low and cook until the beans are soft. Black beans happen to cook very quickly–about 1.5 hours at the crock pot’s low setting. Back in the day, before I worked for myself and from home, I had my crock pot plugged into a timer. This made sure everything was finished by the time I got home and nothing was ever overcooked. So easy!
So, here is the Soup of the Day: Denise’s Super Simple Black Bean Soup
Soak/drain/rinse beans as described above. Add the onion. Cook for an hour and a half. Eat as is. Seriously. I love them this way, but this isn’t always how I make them. So here’s the fussier, better-for-you recipe.
Black Bean Soup with Arugula
Soak/drain/rinse the beans as described above. Add the water, salt, onion, peppers, garlic plus the ground coriander if you wish. Cook until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half. Add the chopped arugula, Continue cooking until that huge pile of arugula disappears into the beans, about 15 minutes with the crock pot set at high. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of goat yogurt sprinkled with chopped cilantro.
By the way, if you’re wondering why I use goat yogurt, there are two reasons. First, I always have goat yogurt in the house as the my porcine girls each get a pint of yogurt a day for their gut health. Second, raw goat milk makes a wonderful, tangy, probiotic-filled yogurt that, hands down, outshines any commercially made sour cream on the market. Moreover, it tends not to curdle when stirred into hot ingredients. Trust me. Try it on a baked potato once and you’ll never go back.