Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Caldo Verde (Kale Soup!) with Baer's Best 'Calypso' Beans

Baer's Best 'calypso' beans and New Root Farm's chorizo meet local potatoes, cabbage and kale.  Homemade chicken jus is, of course, what makes this whole thing worth it.  And the bread, we can't forget the bread (Beach Pea's, naturally).  Try saying "Beach Pea and Baer's Beans" five times fast. 

This recipe was adapted from The Book of New England Cookery.  I used a rich, dark, flavorful chicken stock ("jus") instead of beef stock, and added cabbage as well as kale.  I also changed up my quantities on a couple of other ingredients, namely the potatoes.  We love potatoes.  I also topped our bowls with shaved parmesan.  We love parmesan.

Baer's Beans!  Tender, creamy, perfect.  The yin yang of beans.  :)
Super easy mise en place:

1C soaked pea beans (either overnight, or the quick soak method*)
2-1/2 qts (10C) stock (any base will do, but make it count**)
1 lb fresh chorizo (New Roots Farm's is excellent)
1 med to lg onion, chopped (I like red onion for this; we use more than the average Joe, too)
2-3 med potatoes, peeled and diced
lg bunch kale, cleaned and stemmed
good chunk of cabbage (1/4 of lg head), shredded
bit of evoo, s & p (if your stock is well seasoned, you won't need the latter)

Saute chorizo and onion in a heated 10" saute.  Sure, start off with a twirl of olive oil if you wish.

New Roots Farm's fresh, aromatic chorizo is wonderfully balanced with spice.  While a soft sausage, it holds up well to stewing and is perfect for this hearty kale soup. 

While the above cooks, get your stock heating up.  Just to a quick boil.  Meantime, cook the onion-sausage combo until it looks like this:

Set the browned onion-sausage aside.  Add the soaked beans to the just-boiling stock, then lower heat to simmer.  Cook for about 45 minutes or until beans feel tender to the tooth.  Once tender, add the cabbage and potatoes...

Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, or until a piece of potato is just tender when you nom-nom.  Add your kale, then the onion-sausage combo.  Stir, and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes until your pot looks like this:

Letting soup rest is as important as letting meat rest, especially when it's made with a clear stock.  Give it 10-15 minutes before ladling into bowls.  Be sure to check yours for seasoning before you do.  There is nothing worse than a placid bowl of soup.  Nothing.

Serve with fresh toasted bread (rosemary batard comes to mind) and a few shaves of parmesan cheese on top.  Your recipient will groan.  You will groan.  Promise.
*quick soak: bring beans to boil in just enough water to cover them.  As soon as water starts to boil, kill the heat and set pot aside, covered, for up to two hours.  Drain before adding to above recipe.

**my absolute most favorite chicken stock is made by first roasting lots meaty bones--even those from a previously roasted whole bird--in a really hot oven (450) until they are a glorious roasted-brown color.  Then I add them to a large stockpot in which I have cooked coarsely chopped onions, carrots and celery.  Cover the whole thing with just enough water, add a sachet (leek, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, maybe some allspice berries or juniper berries, or whatever else might move me at the time).  The sachet makes skimming a bit easier (the veg will float up, but that's tolerable)--and you will need to skim, maybe not a lot, but the more you skim impurities the clearer your stock will be.  It also pays to remove your stock from the pot with a ladle, versus tipping the whole kaboodle upside down into another container.  THAT will cloud your stock, my friends.  Don't do it.  Simmer your stock for up to three hours.  Delish.

Calypso beans from Baer's Best Beans.  Beautiful!

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