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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The longer you let this hearty bean soup sit, the more flavorful it will become

As summer draws to a close — really, where did it go? — At the same time as the green beans are being taken off the shelves of the market, an enticing array of delicious autumn food is being brought in.

It’s always thrilling when the seasons change. The atmosphere is distinct, and there is a chillier wind. Tomato salads give way to other alternatives, and with that comes a shift in our tastes.

Remember fennel? Beets? These veggies that thrive in chilly temperatures have a natural sweetness and complement one another well, particularly when combined in a beautiful salad. Choose fennel bulbs that are fresh and bright, and search for beets that are presented in bunches and come in a variety of hues such as red, pink, white, and gold. I almost always choose the gold, which are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. When combined with a tangy vinaigrette, the result is a dish that is irresistibly delicious. Toast bites topped with herb-infused goat cheese that has been melted and put over are served warm as an accompaniment for the meal.

Naturally, you’ll want to boil the beets before eating them. This can be accomplished without much difficulty, but it does need some effort and careful attention to the particulars involved. Either by roasting or boiling, they’ll require at least an hour of your time, so you may want to think about preparing the beets on one day and the salad on another. Then, make sure that they are appropriately attired. It is common knowledge that beets need a substantial amount of spice. A little of salt and vinegar are always good additions, as is giving them some time to marinate in the flavours.

I really like having soup for supper, particularly in the fall and winter when the light sets earlier. This one, which is substantial and full of beans, is a great main course since it is filling. In French, we call it a potage. It is a French name that originates from the word potager, which means vegetable plot (or soup garden). It is used to describe a substantial soup that often includes beans or other legumes. I used cannellini, which, while I like to cook from dry since you end up with such a delicious bean broth, is perfectly OK in a can if you want to save some time. A Spanish flavour may also be achieved by using a combination of beans or only chickpeas.

A significant amount of starch and body may be contributed by squash. I went for delicata, but acorn or butternut would have been excellent alternatives. Then, add some leeks, some onions, some greens (kale or collards, but you can even put those beet greens to use here too), a little amount of chorizo or kielbasa, or none of these ingredients, and a tiny bit of sausage.

This is the type of soup that tastes better after some time has passed. To put it another way, you shouldn’t serve it right from the pot as soon as it’s finished cooking. If you can wait even one hour, you’ll be rewarded with tastes that are more complex. As a matter of fact, you should prepare the soup a day or two in advance since it reheats well. If it becomes too thick, you may need to thin it up with a little bit of broth. You may adjust it to the consistency that you want, but make sure it’s not too watery. You’ll want some crusty bread to go with it, and if I may make a recommendation, a glass of pinot noir would be great.

I never cook dessert for the meal until there are others coming to eat with us; it adds a touch of class. When I have a need for dessert, I throw a little dinner party for myself.

Making this airy walnut sponge cake is one of my favourite things to do. It can be stored for many days and may be used in an infinite variety of ways. You may adjust the amount of spices to your liking by adding or removing them, or you can try this recipe with a different nut, such pecans. You may serve it with lightly whipped cream or crème fraiche that has just a hint of sugar added to it, as well as seasonal fruit, such as a few raspberries that are getting to be late in the season or some pears that have been sliced.

In any case, in order to commemorate the arrival of fall, I decided to choose two perennial favourites: the pomegranate and the persimmon. Fuyu persimmons, which are larger and rounder than apples, may be eaten uncooked. To prepare them to my liking, I first peel them and then cut them into wedges. Regarding the pomegranates, search for ones that have already started to split apart; this is an indication that the arils contained inside are crimson and juicy. Combine the two fruits in order to decorate the dessert with them.

You could always sit around the table with a bowl of freshly harvested walnuts and a nutcracker while munching on persimmons and pomegranates straight from the hand.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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