Monday, January 16, 2012

Bewley's Tuscan Tomato and Bean Soup

 I know the photo doesn't look like much, but trust me, this soup will make you famous.... I live in Seattle, Washington and have begun frequenting an Irish Pub in West Seattle called A Terrible Beauty.  I really enjoy it there, the staff is very friendly and attentive, and the food is really very good. No argument there.

But, let's assume you work there. No matter how good the food is, you can get tired of the same menu choices over and over after a while.

Since I like to cook and have to service this blog with a post every once in a while, I've started to occasionally bring them in something different to try.

One week I brought in my Potato Chips, and another time my Chicken and Rice Soup.  

This time, I decided to go with an Irish dish adapted from Bewley's Grafton Street Cafe Tuscan Tomato and Bean Soup from Dublin, Ireland. I daresay it came out well and was consumed by the staff rather quickly.

And although I am certainly a meat eater, this is a wonderful vegetarian soup also.

I might also add, I scarfed a few bowls at home, myself. And, once again, I made it in the Pressure Cooker in only 15 minutes!

Give it a try.

Ingredients and Method: 

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, washed and diced
3 carrots diced
1or 2 large diced fennel bulb(s) (Video on how to prepare a fennel bulb)
1 28-oz can Marzano crushed or diced tomatoes with puree
4 fresh plum tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 quarts vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste (Cook first then season, it will take quite a bit of each but test after each addition)
2  15 oz cans Cannelloni Beans (white Italian kidney beans), rinsed and drained. (Get that scum off them ha ha)

Now, throw that olive oil in the bottom of that pressure cooker, and turn the heat up to medium....  (If you're doing this in a traditional pot or dutch oven, just do everything the same, except, cook it for like 3 hours, until all the vegetables are very tender.)  Otherwise, exactly the same...

Saute, the potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and fennel, until the onions wilt.... 10 minutes, stir 'em up occasionally....

Now, here's the cool part. Well, Cool Part No. 1.  Dump everything else into the pot except the beans.... Yeah, just do it....  I love this recipe and I love a Pressure Cooker....That's it below.... just heap it in...

Now stir a few times, turn the heat up high, put on the Pressure Cooker cover and valve....and wait until that sucker starts steamin'...... Turn the heat down to low, and let it steam for 15 minutes....  (Or stir and wait three, hours, I'm jus' sayin'.... ha ha, love you slow cookers, I'm one myself)

After 15 minutes, remove, and place under faucet and do the quick cool down with cold water over the top....

Don't get it in the vents, of course....  Now.....  open carefully.... return to mild heat on the stove...

Add the Beans, (remember them?)  And stir gently and heat a bit for ten minutes....

And then get your Immersion Blender. (Here's the second cool part)   (Don't have one?  What's wrong with you?  ha ha....  Anyway then,, move hot liquid from pot to bowl and puree about half and pour it back in.  (Apparently I have a Pressure Cooker bias, I do. you have to try it.)

Take your Immersion Blender, and be careful now, you want to leave about half the soup with bite, and vegetables, and onion, and delicious fennel, yet you also want a firm and delicious background to the beans....with vegetables.... If you pulse too long..... (just a thought) it'll pulverize the soup and you'll have no vegetables and beans, ya know?

So, it's easy.  Put that sucker in the hot pot of soup, way down, and pulse it like six quick times. Stop, and check, and eat, and salt and pepper, and if it's not how you want, pulse 3 more times.....  You're done...!

And not to totally horrify my vegetarian friends, but you could cut up some boiled Kielbasa, and heat it up there too, ya know what I mean?   :)


Stir, and salt and pepper some more, you want it just right.

And spoon some into a bowl, with a dollop of sour cream, or, as I did last night, I heated the soup with a slice of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar....  delicious....

Thank you Ireland....

p.s. Joni, thanks for the kind words. You should post them as a comment. You might be my new Food Critic, ya know?

Let me know what you think. Soup with Fennel is cool. There's a sentence I thought I'd never say.