Lucky White Bean Soup
Across the world, there are existing traditions of eating certain foods for special occasions and holidays to insure good luck. Sometimes we know the reasons surrounding these good food omens and other times, we partake with little reason except the guided assurance of good fortune passed on to us by cultures and traditions of relatives passed.
Over the years I have experienced many varieties of Asian foods and drink offerings from friends all with the insistence that they would provide excellent health, lots of money, or both and even keeping female functioning at its optimum such as eating eel and drinking orange peel tea.
The lucky foods in my family include eating three particular foods on New Year’s Day; beans which absorb the liquid and plump up representing growing abundance, then there is the Pork and the Sauerkraut. I honestly do not know too much about the Pork and Sauerkraut.
(These Roasted Prime Rib Bones were frozen from Christmas Eve and for added depth of flavor I further roast them and add them into the early preparation of the soup. The extra meat falls off the bones and lends a delicious touch of flavor in the blend.)
One thing I do know is that for a few years I got away from those three lucky foods on New Year’s Day, and let us just say they were not my luckiest years. Since then I reverently returned back to the traditional beans, pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day and things improved immeasurably, so that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
Since saffron is the gold of spices, and provides a great golden and flavorful enhancement to the white beans how can I go wrong mixing it in with white wine for flavoring the soup with extra measure on New Year’s Day?
(Above is some reserved gravy from earlier soup or stew preparations that I freeze and add into soups for a richer flavor. This also provided an enhanced depth to today’s Lucky Bean Soup.)
New Year’s Day is generally a relaxing one around my house following a lot of holiday activity so snacking and Bowl Games is a norm. Still, no matter how much Bowl game snacking goes on in the midst, I insist that everyone must have a sample of each of the three food dishes to insure all of their good luck in the upcoming year.
Another part of the luck is that the Lucky White Bean Soup recipe makes enough for the next day, and some for freezing, and if that insures extra future good luck, well then I am going with that too.
Lucky White Bean Soup is sustaining and hearty, and healthy, anyway you decide to enjoy it. Happy New Year 2013, wishing you the Best of Luck!
Lucky White Bean Soup
2 hours, 30 minutes
This soup is great to prepare using the bones and meat from a leftover roast, beef, pork, or ham. Adding in a couple Tablespoons of reserved leftover gravy or sauce from a roast or stew also adds an added depth of flavor to the soup
Recipe may be halved
- 2 - 1 pound bags of dried white beans, rinsed well, picked clean of any debris, then soaked in a pot overnight covered with cold water
- 1 1/2 pounds roasted meat bones formerly reserved and frozen from an earlier preparation
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 2 onions, quartered then halved
- 6 carrots, peeled, cut into one inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery, strings removed, cut into one inch pieces
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 cups cooked cubed pork roast
- 3 medium size tomatoes, chopped
- 12 cups broth, approximately, any combination, beef, chicken or both (a cup of leftover gravy from any roast, soup or stew may additionally be added for extra depth and richer flavor)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 pinch saffron, half dozen strands, stirred into the white wine
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more according to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more according to taste
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for topping soup before serving
- This soup is best complemented using saved meat bones frozen after their original preparation, such as Prime Rib bones, but is still delicious simply prepared using just leftover cooked pork and may then be prepared simply skipping the step of roasting the bones and adding them to the soup pot
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Roast meat bones until fully cooked and browned about forty minutes, the bones with any attached meat will further cook in the soup
- In two batches, using a food processor pulse together the garlic, onions, carrots to diced size pieces
- Add the butter and olive oil to a large soup pot on medium heat, when butter is melted, swirl to cover the bottom of the pan and drop in the roasted meat bones, stir well cooking for around ten minutes
- Stir in the vegetable mixture reducing the heat to low and cook until softened, around five minutes, stir through the parsley
- Tumble in the soaked, drained white beans and cook for three to four minutes stirring, blending well with the vegetables, then stir in the chopped tomatoes
- Pour the wine and saffron mixture into the soup pot using a spatula to scrape any remaining saffron or liquid from the sides of the bowl, cook until the wine reduces in the soup pot, about four minutes
- Pour in the broth, bring soup to a rolling boil, then reduce to very low heat, scrape in the diced pork pieces, stir and simmer soup for about two and a half hours until beans are soft and all of the combined flavors have developed together
- If soup becomes too thick during cooking, add a little more broth, one cup at a time
- About ten to fifteen minutes before serving stir in the chopped fresh kale, salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning
- Ladle hot soup into bowls
- Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.