Sunday, 5 October 2008

I Love: Pulses

According to the great all knowing Wikipedia Pulses are "annual leguminous crops yielding from one to twelve grains or seeds of variable size, shape and color within a pod," you may know them as Legumes or just call them beans. The term also covers dried peas and lentils, and I love them all!
I'll start with lentils, and I do love a good lentil soup, so split red lentils are pretty high up on the list of pulses I love, closely followed by Beluga and Puy (French) lentils which hold their shapes for main dishes and salads. Expensive for lentils those two. Least favourite is probably the common everyday green / brown lentils, but those are still good! Its all in the seasoning.

Beans have such variety I think its a case of loving the one I'm eating at the moment! Some are best best for Mexican style dishes, others for chili, another for stews, but to be honest there's a lot of just use whatever beans you have when I cook with them. Makes an old recipe new again by substituting Aduki beans for the Black Beans specified for example.

I'm not going to go into all the stuff that can be made from Soybeans in this post, they are pulses / legumes of course, but as they aren't often eaten as a bean, like most other beans are, I'm just going to give them this mention. I do love you in all your guises soybeans, so don't feel left out at all!

Then there's the tinned vs dry debate. I always have tinned beans in the cupboard for when I'm too lazy, or haven't thought ahead enough to soak and cook my own (I'd love a pressure cooker!) but there is no denying the money to be saved by buying dry and cooking them yourself. If I had a larger freezer I'd do this and freeze loads to not need the tins. I always rinse the tinned beans well, they are often far too salty.
While I love pretty much all pulses, I love Chickpeas most of all, just ask my family. One year for my birthday H asked the girls what they thought Mummy would love as a gift and they said "Mummy loves Chickpeas" so that's what I got! and the same year Santa bought me a couple of tins at Christmastime too. If that isn't serious chickpea love I don't know what is! We'll explore my love for the Garbanzo a little more tomorrow in the great Hummus Taste Off.

I know I've posted this recipe before, but this is a post about beans - so here's a bean soup we love -
Mushroom, Aduki Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup
Serves 4 as a starter
½ C dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 C Boiling Water
1 Medium Onion – finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic – grated
1 head Roasted Garlic – squeezed out and chopped if required
1 Portobello – finely chopped (about 2 C)
3 large White Mushrooms – finely chopped (about 2 C)
1 C Shiitake Mushrooms – stems removed and finely chopped
2 C Cooked Aduki Beans
1 t dried Thyme
1 Bayleaf
1 T Soy Sauce
3 C Mushroom Stock (from cubes - or vegetable if you don’t have mushroom)

In a small bowl combine the porcini mushrooms and boiling water. Cover and stand 10 minutes. Drain reserving both liquid and mushrooms – finely chop mushrooms.
In a large soup pot over medium heat sauté the onion, garlic and roasted garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add in all the mushrooms (porcini, portobello, white and shiitake) and sauté 10 minutes.
Then add in all the remaining ingredients, including the reserved porcini liquid, and cook at a low boil for about 30 minutes.
Using either an immersion blender or standard food processor, blend half the soup to a creamy, smooth consistency, returning to the pot to combine with the remainder. Reheat as required. Season to taste.


Courtney said...

I LOVE beans and lentils too! Red lentils are one of my favorites, although every time I say that, I think of about 4 other "favorites" as well!

Your soup looks great!


The Veggie Queen said...

If you love beans and lentils, especially garbanzo beans (which are right at the top of my list), then you want to get a good, modern pressure cooker. You'll be able to rid yourself of the tinned bean habit quickly. After soaking, garbanzo beans cook in 12-14 minutes at pressure, and then you wait 10 minutes or less for the pressure to come down. They taste better and you'll save money. Maybe this year, you can get a pressure cooker for your birthday or the holidays.
I also love beans, and my pressure cookers. You'll likely enjoy yours, too. Makes eating beans even more delicious.

Carla said...

Jill, I'd love a pressure cooker! Santa will be asked for one this year for sure!