For some reason I got it in my head that white bean soup would be the perfect ode to late summer. And I also happened for find white beans for an obscenely low price at the dollar store.
So I soaked those old, discounted beans for TWO DAYS. Plumped and primed, I set them to simmer in homemade chicken stock with bay leaf.
A few hours later, with beans that were still hard, I began to fret. I added the sauteed leeks and spring onion that I'd prepared and prayed that the beans would hit their softening point.
After another hour and a half, my beans were edible, but not what they should be. But it was late and we needed to eat so Matt and I endured. I added corn cut directly from the cob (which had been steamed and frozen for about a month) and chunks of a baby zucchini. I also added generous amounts of salt and pepper.
The soup was dissatisfying. Bland, too hot, and the beans, were, well, sub-par. Matt politely ate his bowl of soup and told me it was good. I gave him the ubiquitous you're-only-saying-that-because-you-love-me face and he protested and fussed for a bit to make me feel better and then set about doing the dishes.
I put the left over soup in containers, dismayed that I had so much left of what I considered to be a disaster.
Fast forward two days. I force myself to eat a bowl of blah bean soup, believing that it is getting no better with age. I microwave a bowl for myself and fix some foccacia toast, knowing that I am going to need something satisfying to make the whole lunch endeavor worthwhile. But behold - that bean soup had completely transformed while interned in Tupperware. The beans and sufficiently absorbed flavor and moisture, the leek flavor glowed through the surrounding veg, and the corn and zucchini had sustained their fresh summer crunch and color. It turned out to be not only a satisfying lunch, but an excellent ego stroke. My soup WAS good. It just needed a little time to get comfortable.
Two Day Bean Soup
1 cup dried white beans
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. butter
1 spring onion
1 small zucchini
2 cooked cobs of corn
salt and pepper
Despite the strife I experienced with this soup, it is truly simple with a little forethought. Rinse and sort through beans. Soak over night, if needed (the older the beans, the more likely they need to be soaked). When ready to cook, drain beans of soaking liquid, and cover with chicken stock. Add bay leaf and bring to a brisk boil for two minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Cook beans in this manner for 1 to 2 hours, testing frequently until beans are soft. In the mean time, slice the leek and onion, sautee both in butter until soft and translucent. When beans are soft, add leek and onion. Cut corn kernels from cob, and dice zucchini. Add corn and zucchini to soup, continue cooking for just a few moments. Remove soup from heat, salt and pepper liberally, and allow to cool. Store soup in fridge for AT LEAST ONE DAY before serving.