Tag Archives: soups

16 Bean and Kale Soup

16 Bean and Kale Soup


There are some who believe that eating beans on New Year’s Day can bring you good fortune for the year ahead.  Beans are said to represent coins. I can’t promise you will win the lottery this year, but I do know that this soup is really good for you and it tastes really good!

I had a leftover ham bone from Christmas Eve dinner and used that, but you don’t need a ham bone to make this. You don’t even have to add any ham, but if you want that flavor, you can use a few slices of bacon or cube up some thickly sliced pieces of ham from the deli counter.

I used dried beans in this recipe, but skip that step if you’d like and use a combination of your favorite canned beans. Just rinse and drain them really well before adding them to the soup.

16 Bean and Kale Soup

Preparing the dried beans:
1 16 oz. package dried 16 Bean mix, rinsed and sorted
8 C. water
The Soup:
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig sage leaves
4 sprigs thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ham bone
8 C. water
salt and pepper to taste
several large stalks of fresh kale, deveined and chopped
a few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan
In a large pot, combine the beans and the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then shut the heat off and allow to sit for one hour.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrot and the herbs (tie the herbs in a bundle with some twine). After a few minutes, when the onions are softened, add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add the ham bone and cook a few minutes longer.
Add the water and some salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for one hour or more.
Once the beans have sat and have softened, drain and rinse them very well in a sieve under cold water and allow them to sit.
Remove the ham bone from the pot and the herb bundle and discard. Add the beans into the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add more salt and pepper, if it needs it. Then add the kale, parsley and top with some freshly grated Parmesan for serving.

Notes:

  • When preparing the beans to soften, do not use any salt at all. Salt will make the skins of the beans very tough and unpalatable.
  • If you are not a fan of kale, you can use spinach in its place.

 

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Manti (Armenian Dumpling Soup)

Manti

Every culture seems to have their own dumpling. Armenians have manti, little boats, usually stuffed with ground lamb or beef. Out of the oven, they are golden, crunchy and savory. Then, they are thrown into a broth lightly blushed with tomato and topped with a dollop of yogurt. This soup is warming, comforting and very filling.

Making manti was a family production. My sisters and I would join our Mom in the kitchen and we’d all have a hand in creating these little boats. Our Mom usually handled the dough (don’t get scared off yet, there is a super easy shortcut that doesn’t involve you making any dough at all!). We all worked around the table together filling and pinching (and talking and laughing, loudly, I’m sure) until trays and trays of the manti made their way in and out of the oven burning the fingers of those of us too eager to test them.

Wonton Wraps…the shortcut!

Manti

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. allspice
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
4 T. tomato paste, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg. wonton wraps, cut into quarters
8 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. non fat plain Greek yogurt, for topping
1 clove garlic minced (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, allspice, 1 T. of the tomato paste and salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread out some waxed paper on a counter or table to protect the surface. Keep the wonton wraps under a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. You’ll need a small bowl of water for each person helping out. I like to work in batches. I lay out about ten to fifteen squares at a time, then using a 1/4 t. measuring spoon I drop that amount of the meat mixture onto each square. Dip your fingers in the bowl of water, wet the outer edge of each square of dough and bring up the sides, pinch together while pushing down toward the table to create the little boats you see in the picture. Place each manti onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until you’ve used all of the meat mixture.
Bake the manti on the center rack in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy, golden and crunchy. My oven can be very uneven, so I check often and rotate the sheet halfway through.
While the manti are baking, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add 3 T. tomato paste and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and a bit of pepper if needed.
Once the manti have baked, you can immediately throw them in to the pot of broth. I like to take the pot off of the heat and let them sit for maybe 5 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped off with a healthy dollop of the yogurt. You can mix the minced garlic into the yogurt if desired. That is the traditional way to eat it. Personally, I like it plain.

Notes:

  • The wonton wraps come in 3″ squares.  Cut them in half in both directions to get 1 1/2″ squares.
  • You can make batches of the dumplings and freeze them for later use. Just make sure to pre-freeze them on the baking tray for about a half hour in your freezer after they have cooled completely. Then put them in a zipper bag.
  • The bowl used in the photo above deserves some credit! For the past several years, my friend Pat and I attend a fundraiser called Empty Bowls http://www.emptybowls.net  Their purpose is to raise funds to end hunger. Potters donate some beautiful bowls in which guests are served soup.  The guests take their empty bowls home to remind them of the cause. Pat was kind enough to give me her bowl…I think she knew I was eyeing it up! So, if you are interested, you can go to their site to see if there is an Empty Bowls event in your area.