Evan and I walked up to the Inwood Farmers' Market a few weeks back and came home with a pound of the prettiest little dried navy beans tucked away in our market bag. They sat in the back of the cupboard for awhile, but then last Friday I decided to make up a batch of navy bean dip to serve with pita chips during the Olympics' opening ceremony that night.
I rinsed the beans, covered them with water, threw in some salt, a couple springs of rosemary, and a few crushed garlic cloves, and simmered them for a couple hours. Then I drained the beans (but saved the cooking water in the fridge), ground them up in my trusty little mini-Cuisineart with some olive oil, reserved bean water, black pepper, lemon juice, scraped it into a big orange bowl, and drizzled the top with olive oil, sea salt, and smoked paprika.
This was only okay.
It occurred to me the next day that what this huge bowl of leftover bean dip really wanted to be was a pot of soup, so a couple days ago I came home from work and came up with this:
Leek, Sweet Potato, & Navy Bean Puree Soup:
3 leeks, white & pale green parts only
1 medium sweet potato
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
leftover navy bean dip
leftover bean water from cooking the beans
Slice the leeks lengthwise and then in thin slices crosswise, and rinse thoroughly in a colander. Saute, with chopped garlic cloves & pepper flakes, in butter & olive oil over medium-low heat till tender. Turn up heat and add wine, let cook down. Add the leftover cooking water, several more cups water, and a vegetable bullion cube. Turn down heat, bring to a simmer. Wash sweet potato and dice into small cubes (don't bother peeling it), and throw that in the pot. Cook for 20 minutes or so, and serve with the rest of the white wine and with Evan's amazingly delicious fried rice, as taken from Mark Bittman.
We've got some leftover soup, and friend Andy is coming over for dinner this evening, so Evan made up a batch of bread dough yesterday and will bake this afternoon (Classic French Bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day -- thank you, Jessica & Andrew!). Fresh baked bread and this soup -- it's just barely seven o'clock in the morning and I'm already looking forward to dinner!