An easy, creamy and comforting soup that can be turned into a spicy treat for difficult-to-please palates!
I truly, honestly and wholeheartedly hope that legumes are always part of your weekly meal plans.
Did I just hear you answer “No”?
Think again, my friend. Most legumes are of great nutritional value and they can give you many of the things that you’ve been searching for among supposedly newly-discovered “superfoods” of the healthy foods industry, which is thriving as more and more people get health-conscious about what they eat.
Actually, that’s a big talk and I’ll have to get back to it on another post…
So, back to legumes. Their richness in nutrients, vitamins and minerals makes them foods that are more than welcome in our kitchen.
Let’s take beans, for example. Not only are they a great source of protein for people who don’t eat meat, as only 100 g of beans contain 21 g of protein, but they also are an excellent source of potassium. Most people consider bananas to be the top contributor of potassium to our diet, but you’d be surprised by the actual numbers. A medium-sized banana offers about 422 mg of potassium when 100 g of beans can give us 1542 mg! They are also really rich in fiber and they are good sources of phosphorus and folate.
Did I mention how filling and how delicious they are? And they make a great base for amazing soups! Like the one we are making today.
In Greece, we mostly use dried beans for our soups. You can soak them in water overnight in order to reduce their cooking time but it’s optional. Especially if you use a pressure cooker, like I do. There’s also the tendency, among people who find beans difficult to digest, to discard the boiling water after the first 3-5 minutes and add new. This is a tactic that could lessen problems like bloating and indigestion but it also causes many important water-soluble vitamins and nutrients to… go down the drain together with the water. So, I suggest you only do this if beans cause serious indigestion problems to you or a family member.
Bean soup is a traditional Greek food, usually made with white beans, onion, carrots, tomato paste or fresh tomatoes and virgin olive oil. And always accompanied by warm bread and olives. But this soup is much lighter and creamier than the traditional one. Originally made for picky-eating toddlers who detested anything with tomato paste inside. Later, I added the bacon and jalapenos to create a more gourmet version of it. But feel free to omit if the bacon sounds too fatty or the jalapenos too spicy for you.
Easy creamy bean soup (with jalapenos and bacon)
What you need:
- 2 ½ cups white beans (optional: soak them in water overnight)
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 medium potato, peeled
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3-4 bacon slices, cooked and cut in pieces
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper
What to do:
– Put a pot or your pressure cooker on the stove, add water and let it come to a boil. Add the beans. If you wish, after the first 3-5 minutes of boiling, drain the beans and change water.
– Add the vegetable stock, carrots and potato and let them cook for about an hour (30 minutes if you use a pressure cooker) or until the beans are tender. Make sure you check the liquid level in between and add water if needed.
– Remove the pot from heat. Using a ladle, remove the potato and about a cup of the liquid. Blend them together with a hand blender and add back to the soup.
– Add the olive oil and let it simmer for five minutes over low heat.
– Serve it while it’s hot and garnish with the jalapenos, bacon pieces and freshly-ground pepper.