Mayocoba Bean Soup with Masa, Mint and Cheese Dumplings

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I ran across Pati Jinich's recipe for Black Bean Soup in her Mexican Today Cookbook, which I highly recommend.
I had some Mayocoba beans already cooked so I thought I'd go ahead and use them, but what I really wanted was to try the masa dumplings. 

Her original recipe is the one posted 

Here's what you need 

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Vegetable oil, white onion, garlic, chiles, or dried red pepper flakes (not shown) tomatoes, beans, broth, masa, cheese, and mint. 
The recipe calls for chilis de arbol, I didn't have any so I decided to add a pinch of red pepper flakes. I also didn't have any fresh tomatoes so I drained a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, reserving the juice. 
  

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In the saucepan goes the oil and onion, once the onion is cooked down a bit add the garlic and the tomatoes. The tomatoes need to be cooked down to a soft thick paste, don't skimp on this step. Then add the beans with some of their broth. 

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Add the juice that was drained from the canned tomatoes to chicken or vegetable broth and add to the saucepan. You can blend the soup in a blender for a smooth consistency or use an immersion blender if you want more texture to the soup. 

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For the dumplings mix the masa with water making a coarse dough. Add the mint and cheese. Roll the dough into about 1" balls and add to the soup. 

I varied from the recipe by using Mayocoba beans, red pepper flakes, canned tomatoes, and feta cheese. It turned out delicious and I will for sure make it again. I might even try and follow the recipe next time. 

Black Bean Soup With Masa Dumplings

  • 1 cup canola or safflower oil
    ½ cup chopped white onion
    1 garlic clove
    2 chiles de árbol, stemmed and coarsely chopped (seeded if desired)
    8 ounces ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium), cored and chopped
    Kosher or sea salt
    3 cups Basic Black Beans with ½ cup of their cooking broth
    8 cups chicken or vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
    1 cup corn masa flour, such as Maseca (preferably masa mix for tamales, but masa for tortillas will also work)
    ¾ cup water
    4 ounces queso fresco, farmer’s cheese, or ricotta, crumbled (about ½ cup loosely packed)
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
    Mexican crema, for garnish (optional)

Directions

    1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot or casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until it has completely softened, the edges are golden brown, and there is a toasted, sweet aroma wafting from the pot. Add the garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant and has colored and the chiles have softened a bit and intensified to a darker and more burnt red. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down to a soft, thick paste.
    2. Add the beans with their broth and 4 cups of the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for about 10 minutes. The beans should be completely soft and the broth thick and soupy.
    3. Meanwhile, prepare the masa for the dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine the corn masa flour with the water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Knead together with your hands. The dough will be very coarse and seem dry. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the cheese, and mint and mix together until the dough is very soft and homogenous, about 1 minute.
    4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until completely smooth. Cover the blender lid with a towel to avoid splashes. Pour back into the pot and stir in the remaining 4 cups broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low.
    5. To form the dumplings: For each one, scoop up enough masa to make a 1-inch ball, roll it between your hands (moisten your hands if the dough sticks), and gently drop into the soup. Once all the masa balls have been shaped and added to the soup, partially cover the pot and let the soup simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through. They will thicken the soup as they simmer. Taste the soup for salt and add more if necessary.
    6. Serve hot, garnishing each bowl with a spoonful of crema, if desired.

    Variation: This soup will be much more delicious if you use home-cooked black beans, but if you are in a time crunch, feel free to use canned. Two 15-ounce cans plus an extra ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth or water can stand in for homemade.

    Mexican Today: Pati Jinich cookbook

And that's that!


Freekeh and pinto bean soup aka Shorbat Freekeh

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For those of you who like me are unfamiliar with freekeh, it's unripe green wheat that's been roasted over wood fires. It has a wonderful smoky flavor. I hope you seek it out, it's well worth your effort. 

So let's get cooking, gather up some, 

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Freekeh, pinto beans, celery, carrot, lemon, allspice, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, onion, and chicken broth. 

Dice the onion and get that started sauteing in a saucepan. 

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Toast the coriander and cumin seeds and crush in a mortar. I love my little wooden one, it's the perfect size for nuts and seeds. They don't jump out all over the place when I'm trying to grind them up.
Once the seeds toasted and ground and to the onions along with the allspice and garlic. Toast about a minute more. 

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To the onion and spices, add the beans, carrots, celery, stock, and freekeh. I didn't add water like the recipe says, I used all stock. 
Once the freekeh is soft, add the lemon juice and olive oil. 

Ladle up, top with yogurt, chives and olive oil. You'll love it. 

Freekeh and pinto bean soup

Ingredients

  • Shorbat Freekeh

    2 tablespoons olive oil or any neutral oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    14 oz./400g can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    1 cup/150g freekeh
    2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
    2 celery sticks, finely chopped
    4 cups/500ml vegetable or chicken stock
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
    2 tablespoons lemon juice unflavored yogurt, to serve
    3 1/2 tablespoons/15g chives, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes, until soft. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds by stirring them in a dry pan over a low heat for a minute or so until their aromas are released. Crush them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add to the onion with the allspice and garlic. Fry for another 2 minutes until fragrant.

    Add the pinto beans, freekeh, carrots, celery, stock and 2 cups/500ml just-boiled water, cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the freekeh is quite soft. Then season with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the 2 tablespoons each of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

    Depending on how salty (or not) your stock was, you may want to add a little more salt. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.

    To serve, ladle into warmed bowls, add generous dollops of unflavored yogurt, a sprinkling of chives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

    Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen Cookbook

And that's that!


Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

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Quick, easy, and oh so good. 

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Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

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The bread I used for this recipe is a pita type Arabic bread. That goes into the soup pot along with crushed tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and chicken broth. 

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The bread is simmered with the soup base until softened, about 15 minutes, 


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then vigorously whisked into the soup base. You do not want to use a blender or an immersion blender, you want some un-whisked chunks of bread in there, they turn out dumpling like, nice and soft and pillowy  

I highly recommend using a pita type bread, It will hold up better in this soup. 

Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
    3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    4 ounces hearty white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 sprig fresh basil plus 2 tablespoons chopped
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper 
    Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Combine oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until garlic is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

    Stir in tomatoes, bread, broth, basil sprig, salt, and pepper and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer vigorously until bread has softened completely and soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Off heat, discard basil sprig. Whisk soup until bread has fully broken down and soup has thickened further, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped basil, drizzle with extra oil, and serve.

     

    Cooks Country Magazine Dec/Jan 2020 edition

     

And that's that!


Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

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I don't know what to tell you other than your mouth will sing when you eat this dish. The braising liquid is made up of coconut, lemongrass, cardamom and curry, hits all the right notes, no? 
The recipe calls for the vegetables to be cooked separately which worked just fine because I pressure cooked the meat in the broth. Cooking the vegetables separately allows me to cook them to my preference, I like them a bit on the firm side. 

I didn't have the celery root, nor the fresh lemongrass but I did have lemongrass powder, so after a bit of research, I found that I can use one teaspoon of the lemongrass powder for one stalk of lemongrass, so happy I had it on hand. 

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around My French Table she states that sometimes when she doesn't have time to cook the vegetables, she adds some frozen peas to the pot at the end, or leaves it as is. 

Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless pork (pork butt is good here), cut into 1-to 2-inch cubes and patted dry, at room temperature
  • Coarse salt, such as sel gris or kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder (Mild is suggested)
  • Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 2 strips lemon zest, white pith removed
  • 1/2 lemongrass stalk, tender center part only, pounded to crush it a bit
  • 1 15 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 small potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and halved (optional)
  • 3 small carrots, trimmed, peeled, and halved (optional)
  • 3 small onions, halved (optional)
  • 1/2 small celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cubed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    Put a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, toss in some of the pork—don’t crowd the pan—and cook, stirring, until the pieces are golden on all sides. As the pieces are done, lift them out of the pot and place in a Dutch oven or other oven-going stew pot; season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to brown the remainder of the pork.

    Put the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the spices, lemon zest, lemongrass, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir everything around until the spices are toasty—you’ll smell them—and then stir in the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot well, and slide it into the oven.

    Allow the stew to braise undisturbed for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork is tender and cooked through, (if you plan to make the dish ahead, cook the pork for 15 to 20 minutes.)

    While the stew is in the oven, cook the vegetables, if you’re using them: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery root. Keep an eye on the pot, and remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon as they’re tender. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside until the pork is cooked.

    When the pork is done, put the Dutch oven over medium heat, add the vegetables, if you’ve got them, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer just until the vegetables are heated through. If you think the sauce needs it, you can add a little more stirred coconut milk to the pot—it will heighten the braise’s coconut flavor and thin the sauce (which is not particularly thick). Taste for salt and pepper, add a teaspoon of honey, if you’d like, and serve.

    MAKES 6 SERVINGS

    SERVING Because the sauce is so good and so plentiful, you’ll want something to capture it—bread is an option, of course, but boiled rice or egg noodles are naturals as well.

    STORING Like all stews, this one is very good the next day. If you want to make it ahead, cook the pork for a slightly shorter time, so that you don’t overcook it when you reheat it. If you’ve got leftovers, remove the pork, reheat the sauce, and when it’s hot, add the pork and simmer just long enough to warm it through.
    Around My French Table Cookbook: Dorie Greenspan

And that's that!