Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Summer Green Bean Soup
Summer Snap Bean Soup
I donâ€™t know how many people in the past have told me that their dream is to someday have a restaurant of their very own. Most have no idea of the toil, tension and day-to-day problems involved in owning and operating a restaurant. But there are benefits, not the least being the great people we meet everyday.
Another perk is the free subscriptions to various trade magazines that we receive. In one of these recently, an article mentioned a dish made by Seattle Chef Kevin Davis of the Oceanaire Seafood Room. It was a â€śsmothered green bean bisqueâ€ť inspired by a dish his Cajun grandmother had made. There was no recipe, but it sounded unusual enough for me to give it a try at home. I mean MY mom never made green bean soup, and I bet yours didn't either. But I thought it was pretty tasty stuff, so I am going to share it with you.
According to the article the chef simmered ham hocks in chicken stock for the soup base, and made his own croutons, but I think we can cut a few corners. This turned out to be quite a tasty soup, and with the garnish, substantial enough for a pleasant and simple one-dish Sunday night supper. With the Labor Day holiday on Monday, youâ€™ll probably be having a big last summer hurrah cookout, so why not try it this Sunday?
The croutons give it plenty of crunch, but you might want to add crusty bread or corn muffins to your menu. For dessert, I mixed jarred pecans or walnuts in syrup (in the ice cream topping aisle) with a generous splash of Frangelico liqueur and spooned it over scoops of Haagen Daz peach sorbet. A crisp cookie with it couldnâ€™t hurt. And then relax...itâ€™s a holiday weekend!
SMOTHERED GREEN BEAN BISQUE
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped, or 1 or 2 serrano peppers, chopped*
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Knorr ham bouillon cubes**
4 cups water
2 lb fresh green beans
1 package prepared croutons
4 oz Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese*, shredded
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Put the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir a couple of times. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken broth, water and ham bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you trim the ends off the beans. Add the beans to the pot and simmer covered until very tender, 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Puree in a blender, food processor or with a hand blender. (Can be prepared to this point and reheated when ready to serve.) Thin, if necessary, with water or chicken broth. Stir in the lemon juice and reheat just to a simmer.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with croutons, the tomatoes and the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 6.
*For a milder flavor, use the poblanos and the Monterey jack cheese. If you like a spicier taste, the serrano peppers and pepper jack cheese are the way to go!
**Available in specialty markets and most Latino or Mexican markets.