I found French Farmers Soup in a magazine...Fine cooking Magazine, October/November 2007. It was included in the article "How to make Hearty bean & Vegetable soups" Without a recipe. This article gives you a "method" for making a soup.
First of all, one must start with dried beans. So, you do need to include some soaking time in your plan. Soaking 6-12 hours is a standard for most dry beans. I soaked mine all day on Tuesday, cooked them Tuesday night and refrigerated them. (I thought Wednesday would be a snap and I would be able to get them out in no time while getting ready for my bookclub. And if truth be told, it wasn't that hard. I just didn't get good photos because I was busy making a cheese and fruit and bread tray for the bookclub)
(You can find more pictures of the soup process on my other blog here )
The article told me to "create" a flavor foundation.
It gave me choices for the meat: bacon, pancetta, smoked sausage, Italian sausage.
For the aromatics: celery, leeks, onions, shallots
Seasonings: too many to chose from (You have to add the seasonings the compliment the rest of your ingredients and the ones you like)
Then veggie choices: you can choose from any vegetable you want to.
Add a broth, beef, vegetable or chicken.
And a finishing touch! An acid-- wine, lemon juice, vinegr orhot sauce.
A sprinkling of a fresh herb
And a topping: olive oil, croutons, orgrated parmigiano cheese
and there you have it!
The recipe also gave you "measuring" guidelines to follow.
3 cups of veggies
1 tbs of seasonings
1 1/2 cups aromatics
1/4 pound of meat.
It was up to me to decide what to mix and match and make for the soup. But...they had a picture of French Farmers Soup in the article and it looked delicious. I decided to make that one.
I chose baby lima beans. I was a bit hesitant, because my memories of frozen lima beans during my growing up years are not that pleasant. I didn't like the texture of them. but using dried baby ones in this soup....I loved the texture. They were so good! I think it would be a good soup with chickpeas also.
This soup was really good. And my husband, who is also not a fan of lima beans (he swears that's all his stepmother made) liked it very much.
It is said that soup is actually better in a day or two. And I actually have some of this left in my fridge. mmmmm.... SuperBowl food? Pfftt....let's have soup!
French Farmers Soup
8oz dried baby lima beans
1 med. clove garlic1 bay leaf
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Sort thru your beans and discard any little stones or clumps of dirt, and then give them a quick rinse. Transfer to a bowl and cover them with enough cold water to go 3 inches above the beans. Soak for 4-12 hours.Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a 3-4 quart saucepan. (I just used my red soup pot--much bigger than that)
Add 1 medium (or 2) garlic clove, smashed and peeled, 1 bay leaf and 6 cups of cold water.
Partially cover to limit evaporation and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and almost creamy inside. The cooking time will vary depending on how long they have soaked and how old they are. Approximately 1 hour.Season with salt.Drain the beans, reserving the liquid and discard the bay leaf.
Heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter in a soup pot. To give the soup a more savory, meaty flavor add some bacon or smoked sausage. (I used bacon) Cook until the fat is rendered, 5-8 minutes. Drain off fat and set bacon aside.
Add the 1 1/2 cups celery, leeks and onion chopped ( 1/2 cup of each).
Season with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
Cook until they begin to soften, 4-6 minutes.
Add the seasonings of your choice. I used thyme, about 3/4 -1 tsp.
Add the vegetables, stirring to incorporate with the seasonings and aromatics.
I used a mixture of diced/sliced carrots and a turnip to equal 3 cups.
Add 2 cups of broth. Partially cover and simmer until the veggies are just barely tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the beans and 3 cups more of stock/broth and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid.
Return the cooked bacon to the pot.
Stir to combine and cook for another 10-20 minutes to meld the flavors.
Taste the soup and adjust seasonings.
Finish your soup with an acid.I chose white wine ---just a splash.
And when I ladled it into a bowl, I sprinkled on some croutons.
Over all, we really liked this soup. It was a good choice