05-20-2005, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Maccu - Sicilian bean soup
From a supermarket magazine way back when....
Sicilian bean soup with tomato
In Sicily, this soup is made from dried broad beans, but I prefer to use small haricots. The basic soup is mild and subdued, but the addition (just before serving) of sizzling hot tomato, onion and garlic in olive oil gives it a brilliant kick. For speed, I prefer to use a liquidiser to purée the soup, rather than a food processor, simply because the processor leaves the skins too ‘obvious’ in the soup. You could rub off the skins of the soaked beans before you start the soup, but this is time consuming and not necessary if you use a liquidiser.
300g dried haricot beans (or broad beans, for authenticity)
2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 ruby red tomatoes, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp finely shredded basil
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water. Next day, drain off the water and tip the beans into a pan. Add the fennel seeds, chopped onion, bay leaves and 2.25 litres cold water. Season with pepper but no salt yet (it will toughen the skins of the beans). Bring up to the boil, boil hard for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40-90 minutes till the beans are very tender (the time will vary considerably depending on the age of the beans). Discard the bay, season the bean mixture generously with salt, then liquidise. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Shortly before serving, reheat the soup. While it reheats, heat the oil for the finishing in a frying pan and sauté the onion briskly until tender and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, swirl around once, and tip in the tomato, basil and chilli. Sizzle for about 30 seconds - just long enough to heat the tomato, but not so long that it starts to collapse.
Pour the soup into a warm tureen, or serve straight into warm bowls, then add the sizzling hot tomato and onion mixture. Swirl it in lightly, and then serve immediately. Serve with crusty granary bread or ciabatta.