08 November 2011

Sweet Potato Bean Soup and a Cereal Update

With the changing of the clocks comes the changing of seasons in San Francisco - from just warm enough to warrant a short sleeve (on occasion, that is) to just cold enough to warrant a jacket (also, again, on occasion). For those not familiar, there are roughly two seasons in San Francisco, and those seasons come twice a year. Jacket, no jacket, jacket, no jacket (though the jacket season that the rest of the country calls Summer is a local effect and not, necessarily, felt in all parts of the city). But, yes, it is now the end/beginning of the year jacket season, and the necessitates some warm things. To start, Irish Coffee is now acceptable to order at bars where it is not their specialty. Also, you can make things like soup for dinner and not feel bad.

Which brings us to today's dish, of which I have no photos. It was an off brown color, under harsh indoor lighting, and the photographs were unappealing. The taste, though, was spot-on. While cooking it, I was worried it would be bland and flavorless; initial tastings supported this notion. It turns out that few things remain bland when a quarter pound of cheddar-like cheese is added, though. This was the dishes saving grace, without which it merely would have been bland mushrooms, zucchini, and kidney beans served in hot water. Before the recipe, a quick update on cereal experiments.
Bowl number two was much better; I did as I suggested I might last time and procured oat flour for the recipe and replaced molasses by honey. The results were superior, though slightly undercooked - 325 degrees for 35 minutes was not sufficient to turn the pieces crispy, though it also was not sufficient to burn them. Overall, a win in the taste category. A few pieces even had a proper air pocket in the middle! I think I know how to reproduce this effect, so I will try the next time. But, yes, the recipe I promised:
Creamy Sweet Potato and Bean Soup
Serves 2
1 yellow onion
2 zucchinis
1 large sweet potato
1 cup white mushrooms
1 cup stock (veggie or animal)
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
1/4 lb white cheddar or other flavorful, melty cheese
1 tbsp butter
olive oil
herbs de provence
salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Chop the onion into strands. In a cast-iron (or other oven safe) pan, melt the butter over medium then add the onion, stirring occasionally. While this cooks, dice the sweet potato. Once the onions are soft and have begun to sweeten, put half of them in a large pot with a dash of olive oil over low. Add the sweet potato into the cast-iron with the remaining half onion, add a dash of herbs de provence, and place in the oven.

Chop the zucchini and mushrooms into whatever shape you fancy for soup and add them to the pot. Increase heat to medium and add the stock and can of beans (with liquid). Add pepper, a dash of salt, and herbs de provence. Keep stirring and let simmer for 20 minutes, after which time the sweet potato and onion should be close to carmelized. Grate or dice the cheese and add it along with the carmelized veggies to the soup, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted and incorporated. Serve immediately, though it will be hot.

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