Beans and Chicory Soup

Beans and Chicory Soup

One thing I'd like to learn is to be better organized when it comes to meal planning. I can't help it. I do things impulsively. I see things like nice vegetables or other ingredients at the store, a flash starts blinking in my head, I now what I want to do with it, and then suddenly I wake up and my beautiful ingredient is about to be dumped in the garbage as it's passed to a better life. For various reasons. Sometimes it's my family that doesn't agree with my meal plan. Sometimes it's lack of time. Sometimes, Most often, it's because I forgot about it once I got home.
And this time I had in mind two different things I wanted to make. One with beans. One with chicory. They ended up in the same pot. With a surprisingly good result.
This soup may not become everyone's favourite, but I liked it a lot.
I'm leaving some space for doubt simply because I know many people hate bitter veggies, and chicory can indeed be quite bitter. That's why I combined it with beans, creamy and sweet.
My husband's reaction went from frown to delight. After tasting the first spoon he was a bit worried. His face was clearly saying, "Do I really have to eat this?" But then, having no choice, went on and spoon after spoon, began to "understand" the flavours. And in the end admitted it was particular but very good.
Before I leave you to the recipe, I'd like to spend a few words on legumes. I know that many of you keep canned beans as a staple in your pantry. I used to do the same thing.
But then I decided to change the habit for various reasons. And now what I do is cook the beans, chickpeas etc. at home, portion and freeze them. The great thing about legumes is that you can whip up a great, nutrious and cheap meal in no time if you have some precooked ones on hand. This recipe is one of those.
A few important things about legumes, though, if cooking them on your own. First, always soak them first. Depending on type of legume, but almost all of them can be left soaking overnight.  Soaking is important for several reasons. Soaking the legumes you eliminate some substances  that are not so good for us. At the same time, they become softer, so will be easier to cook later (some books and recipes suggest to add baking soda to soaking water, but it's better  not to, as baking soda will eliminate some good stuff, too). One thing you don't see is the inside of the beans that will start germinating when soaked in water, and this will result in nutritional value of the beans being even higher.
Carefully drain and rinse the legumes after soaking. The water they soaked in, is not good,  throw it away.
 Then pour some clean, cold  water in a pot, add the legumes and cook them until tender. Add some herbs, too, but remember to add salt only at the end or the skin will get too hard.
 Remember, legumes need to be cooked well, not al dente. The longer you cook them, the more toxic substances will be eliminated, and you will have less problems digesting them.
The water they were cooked in is nutricious and very good for you, so don't throw it away, use it in some way, for soups for example.
(The info about cooking legumes is from the book "Cucinare i legumi", by Giuliana Lomazzi)

Beans and Chicory Soup

Beans and Chicory Soup

* 250 g dried cannellini beans
* a bunch of chicory
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 1 rosemary twig
* 1 small onion
* 12 cherry tomatoes
* 4 slices of rustic wholewheat bread
* extra virgin olive oil
* salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day, rinse them and put in a pot with water, 1 clove of garlig and a rosemary twig. Cook the beans until tender, about 1 hour.
Let them cool in the pot in the water they were cooked in.
Wash the chicory leaves and cut them into stripes. Heat 2 TBspoons of olive oil in a skillet and add the chicory. Season with salt, cover and cook on medium heat until softened.
Heat 4 TBspoons of extra virgin olive oil in a casserole with finely chopped garlic, onion and rosemary leaves. Add the tomatoes cut in half or quarters, season with salt and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the chicory and the beans, with several ladles of the water they were cooked in. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes.
Toast the bread and place one slice in every soup bowl. Pour the beans soup over bread and serve.

Beans and Chicory Soup

Zuppa di cannellini e cicoria

* 250 g di cannellini secchi
* 1 mazzetto di cicoria
* 3 spicchi d'aglio
* 1 rametto di rosmarino
* 1 piccola cipolla
* 12 pomodorini ciliegia o datterini
* 4 fette di pane integrale
* olio extravergine d'oliva
* sale e pepe

Mettete a bagno i fagioli in acqua fredda per una notte.
Scolateli, sciacquateli e cuoceteli in acqua con il rosmarino e 1 spicchio d'aglio intero per circa 1 ora o finché teneri. Salateli e lasciateli raffreddare nella loro acqua di cottura.
Lavate e tagliate a strisce la cicoria. Saltatela in padella con 2 cucchiai di olio e uno spicchio d'aglio intero. Salatela, coprite e lasciate cuocere per qualche minuto.
In una pentola scaldate 4 cucchiai di olio con il trito di cipolla, uno spicchio d'aglio e qualche foglia di rosmarino. Unite i pomodorini tagliati a metà o in quarti, salate e fate cuocere per 5 minuti sul fuoco basso.
Unite la cicoria, i fagioli e qualche mestolo della loro acqua di cottura.
Fate insaporire per 10 minuti sul fuoco vivace, regolate di sale e pepate.
Tostate le fette di pane e sistematele nei piatti. Versate sopra la zuppa di fagioli e servite.

Beans and Chicory Soup

Varivo od graha i cikorije

* 250 g sitnog bijelog graha (cannellini)
* 1 svežanj cikorije
* 3 češnja bijelog luka
* 1 grančica ružmarina
* 1 mala glavica crvenog luka
* 12 cherry ili šljiva rajčica
* 4 kriške integralnog kruha
* ekstra djevičansko maslinovo ulje
* sol i papar

Namočite grah u hladnoj vodi preko noći. Ujutro ga ocijedite i isperite pa stavite kuhati u novoj vodi u koju dodajte jedan češanj bijelog luka i grančicu ružmarina.
Kuhajte grah oko 1 sat ili dok nije kuhan.
Ostavite ga da se ohladi u vodi u kojoj se kuhao.
Cikoriju operite, i narežite listove na trake. Zagrijte u tavi 2 žlice maslinovog ulja i 1 češanj bijelog luka. Dodajte cikoriju, propirjajte je, posolite i kuhajte par minuta pokrivenu da odmekne.
Zagrijte 4 žlice maslinovog ulja u loncu, sa sitno nasjeckanim češnjem bijelog luka, crvenim lukom i par listića ružmarina. Dodajte rajčice, prepolovljene ili narezane na četvero. Kuhajte oko 5 minuta na srednje jakoj vatri. Dodajte cikoriju i grah, i nekoliko grabilica vode u kojoj se kuhao grah. Kuhajte sve skupa oko 10 minuta da se okusi prožmu.
Prepecite kriške kruha i stavite po jednu u svaki tanjur. Rasporedite varivo od graha u tanjure i poslužite.



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