I spiced the soup up a bit by adding some guajillo peppers & some smokey serrano hot sauce. (Matt tried the Boulder Hot Sauce Company hot sauce at Birchwood Cafe the other morning & liked it so much he bought two varieties from them on line.) I don't think I've ever seen Matt like a soup as much as he did this one. The broth came out just amazing & full of flavor. And these beans! Oh, these beans! They were just perfect in the soup, they're tender but they didn't get mushy or lose their shape. They had a wonderful mouth-feel.
The bread with paired this with is the Olive Spelt Bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Matt had had some olive bread at One Market while in San Francisco last week & loved it so he suggested that. I was going to just add olive to a loaf of bread when I saw Zoe & Jeff already had an Olive Bread in their book. They say it is one of their favorites so we figured go with that. The bread was really good with a great crumb but we think we needed a saltier olive to really stand out. By the way, thanks to this book we're in love with spelt flour.
Red Beans and Rice Soup
1 c dried red beans (we used Rancho Gordo Sangre de Toro beans but you could use any small red bean of choice)
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 strips bacon, chopped (we use cooking bacon with lots of fat in it)
2 c yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
1 ham shank or hock
1 T kosher salt
few grinds fresh pepper
dash or two of hot sauce (we used Boulder Hot Sauce Smokey Serrano)
1 c basmati rice
Put the beans in a pot with about 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil & let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover & let sit 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain.
Cut off the stems & seed the guajillo chiles. Put them in a bowl & pour 1 cup of boiling water over the top. Let sit 15 minutes or until soft. Chop the chiles reserving the soaking water.
In a large soup pot cook the bacon over medium-high heat until just beginning to get crispy & rendering its fat. Add the onions & garlic. Cook until softened & the onions are turning translucent. Add the thyme, oregano and chopped guajillos. Stir. Add the chicken broth, water. tomatoes, ham shank, salt, pepper, hot sauce & reserved soaking water. Stir, crushing the tomatoes a bit with your spoon. Add the beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat & simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Bring back to a boil & add rice. Stir, cover, reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 more minutes until rice is tender. If the soup is too thick add more water (we actually added another 2 cups before storing the leftovers & it didn't effect the flavor at all).
Makes 6 - 7 servings
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© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski