White Bean Stew

White Bean Stew

White Bean Stew & Spring Preparedness

Today's recipe is a new favorite of mine. I first tasted this soup when I dined at Sobie's restaurant in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I was so in love! I promptly came home and tried to recreate it. My first attempt was a failure. The disappointment! I then began to browse similar recipes online. My second attempt to my surprise what absolutely divine! Think thick, hearty umami. The key to this stew are two ingredients that bring that special flavor and a l-o-n-g cooking time. Those two ingredients are bacon and tomato paste. While I was trying to up my cooking game, I did a lot of reading on umami. Unfortunately most people have had their taste buds blasted by monosodium glutamate. The wonderful thing is that it can be accomplished with food alone! The other magical touch for soup is home made croutons. I use my home made bread or an artisan bread that is crusty and thick. This is a great way to use the heal of the bread or bread that is starting to get hard on it's on due to age.

Home made croutons-

Ingredients: Home made/crusty artisan bread Herbs to your liking Garlic powder Olive oil Salt flakes

On a baking sheet, lay out your bread slices. Coat your bread in olive oil generously. Sprinkle garlic powder, your choice of dried herbs and flaked salt. I use the herbs that we grow in our herb garden year round. Each summer we dehydrate our herbs and store them in glass jars to use all throughout the winter months. Bake at 400' for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Flaked Salt- If you are not familiar with flake salt and you love salt, welcome to a world of beauty in your mouth. Flaked salt are larger crystals of salt that are meant for "finishing" a dish. You can purchase this at the grocery under Maldon or many other brands or in bulk.

(Little hint) Do not purchase your seasonings in the grocery store in small plastic canisters. A far more economic choice is to visit your local health food grocery such as Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee, WI. They sell them in bulk at a much discounted price. I also store these seasonings in glass jars.

 

Where can I get those gorgeous dishes, linen towel and spoon? Etsy of course!

Hand carved Cherry Wood Spoon, Hand made Salt Cellar and small ceramic espresso cup, Handmade ceramic plate Linen Hand towel

Let's talk about these handmade items. I started to become so disheartened by the things in my house that were constantly breaking or were poorly made. Not to mention, they weren't beautiful. They felt cheap and shoddy. When I started replacing these items I noticed the joy I felt looking at them, touching them and using them. I became grateful for something that an artist created with their hands. It changed so much. I call these items "Forever" items. You will hear me talk about them often.

White Bean Stew (for two)

Ingredients: 2 large peeled and diced potatoes 1/4 diced leek 4 pieces cooked and diced small bacon pieces

1Tablespoon Tomato paste 1 1/2 cup chicken broth or (1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon in 1 1/2 cups water)

salt and pepper (1/8tsp-taste) 2-15oz cans white beans

(Optional)- 1/4 Cup fined diced carrots

(little hint) I have a secret ingredient in every single savory recipe I prepare. Season Salt. I use the Simply Organic "all-seasons salt". I usually just place a few shakes in. If you choose to use Lawry's season salt, be aware of the ingredients in comparison to the organic brand I am recommending.

This stew requires a very long cooking time. I love to place this small recipe in the tiniest crock pot. I would recommend starting this stew at the beginning of the day and allowing it to cook until evening. Throughout the day once or twice, gently press a bit of the soup ingredients against the inside of the crock pot. Then stir. This is what will give your soup the thick, stew like consistency. If you do not mash a few bits, then it will not achieve the thickness of stew.

While we are waiting for our stew...let's talk spoons.

Does this sound funny to you? Or are you saying to yourself-"yes!" I am one of those people who is very particular about my utensils. How a utensil feels in my hand and how it works for me is integral to how well I enjoy the entire experience. I really, truly believe that if you put a lot of time and love and care into a meal, you should make it an experience every single time. Use your favorite spoon, bowl etc.

If we are going to talk spoons, then let's not forget the bowl. I love a big, deep roomy soup bowl. No worrying about my soup sloshing over the edges. Lots of room to move around in there!

The hardest part about this soup is the smell that drives you wild while you wait for your first bite. Think bacony-creamy-potato-tomato goodness all in one smell.

I can never wait for soup to cool down so I always burn my mouth! I wanted you to see the drastic change in consistency with this soup from before I started to cook it to after it is finished.

In my opinion, soup also always tastes better the next day. Leftovers are a huge win for me. I love knowing that I have something wonderful in my refrigerator waiting for us.

What you will not find here are the calories, carbs or fats listed. I prefer not to focus on those things on this blog. This soup is 100% home made. That means there are no added sugars, flavor enhancers or artificial ingredients. I call that a big win in the balanced choices category. I mean look at the nutritious ingredients!

What's going on over here!

Seeds and garden talk are what's going on over here. This lovely box above are some of my perennial seeds and pods I harvested from our garden last fall. Milkweed, coreopsis, echinacea, black eyed Susan's, anise hyssop, columbine and lupine. There was a little guilt in taking seeds that the animals may need over the winter. I decided that it was worth it because it meant more pollinating opportunities in the long run. What we did chose to do that I highly recommend, is leaving the dead plants over the winter for animal shelter and food.

We have been pouring over our favorite catalogs that come every late winter. Here are a few of my favorites:

Baker Creek Rare Seeds , Prairie Moon , Etsy

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