Amsterdam is a wonderful and international city, full of opportunities and dreams but certainly, the weather is not at its best. Autumn begins very early: while Italians are still going to the beach and my friends start complain because they have to put a blanket on their bed, I’ve already been wearing scarves and sweaters for weeks. The end of last summer (weather wise) was terrible and the rain and the wind were incessant: August was a preview of what we had to expect in the months to come.
So what can I do when I arrive at home completely soaked after a long working day? My personal remedy is cooking a bean soup that warms the heart and reminds me that Autumn and the cold can be nice. The smell of the bean soup in the kitchen makes me thinking of the evenings spent in the mountains when I was a kid, the lazy lunch on Sundays, the winter trips to Tuscany, the beauty and the ease of slow cooked food.
I am a great lover of beans: simple but complex ingredients, genuine but versatile and they are a core element of great dishes belonging to more than one Italian regional cousine. I love looking for several beans types at the market or at the organic food stores and then combine them in different ways.
Over the years I have tried a lot of bean soup recipes, but the more I experiment the more I believe my favorite one is the one from the first cookbook I ever bought (a REAL book made of paper!): “Il Cucchiaio d’argento”. Here is my favorite bean soup recipe!
Bean soup: ingredients for 4 people
50 gr. of lentils
50 gr. of chickpeas – let them soak overnight
100 gr. of barley
50 gr. of green soybean
100 gr. of borlotti beans – let them soak overnight
2 lt. of vegetable stock
Prepare the vegetable stock (when I don’t have time to prepare it from scratch, I often use the one from Knorr ). Drain and wash all the beans and the barley. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and pour all of the legumes, letting them cook for a few minutes. Then add the hot stock and cook over low heat for about an hour (or more, in case you like a more creamy soup). When the soup is ready, serve it with a little raw olive oil.
MY LITTLE SEcret
Instead of using oil at the beginning, you can use bacon to make soup tastier!