Navy bean soup #1

I thought a bowl of navy bean soup would make a good lunch, but I rarely cook things with beans (except for Chana Masala). This is just a small tester recipe to see how it goes, since this is sort of out of my comfort zone of cooking.

It is completely impractical to make this small of a batch of soup that takes so long to cook! It turned out to be pretty good, however, so I may make a more reasonably-sized recipe next time.

Serves 1, scale as necessary.

4 oz. navy beans (dried) [see note below]

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
oil or butter

1 dried chile (I used a California)
1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. More than Gourmet vegetarian stock base
20 oz. water (or 20 oz. vegetable stock) [see note below]

1 tsp. miso (I used shiro miso, but it probably doesn't matter)
dash liquid smoke

Soak the beans overnight. Discard the water.

Cut the vegetables.

Stem the chile, slice it in half, and remove the seeds. It's not necessary to cut up the chile because it, and the bay leaf, will be removed before serving.

Here are the vegetables ready to go.

Cook the onion in a small amount of oil or butter in the pan you'll be making the soup in. Cook until translucent.

Add the carrot, celery and garlic and continue to cook until softened.

I use More than Gourmet stock bases because they keep forever in the refrigerator and have a pretty good flavor. Making your own stock is, of course, preferable but this is a pretty good alternative. It doesn't have any fillers or salt, unlike bouillon cubes. I used 20 oz. of water and 2 tbsp. vegetable stock concentrate. You could, of course, use 20 oz. of vegetable stock.

(I actually started with 16 oz. of stock, but it started to get a little dry before the beans were done, so I added more water.)

Add the chile and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Add the beans and bring back to a boil.

Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 90 minutes until the beans are tender.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Remove the bay leaf and chile.

Add 1 tsp. miso and the liquid smoke. This is optional, but it really does add a nice flavor. I tasted it before and after, and the miso does add an extra dimension to the flavor. It's best not to boil miso, however, so keep that in mind when reheating. The smoke flavor is a nod to standard bean soup, which is usually made with a smoked ham hock.

Serve! It was pretty good for a vegetarian soup. I ate the whole bowl and it was filling.

The quantities were a bit off. I had beans left over, but not quite enough for two servings, and definitely not enough liquid for 2 servings. It seems like 2.5 to 3 oz. of dried navy beans and about 20 oz. of liquid is good for one serving. That's simmering on the stove, uncovered, so a lot of the liquid is evaporated.

This recipe is vegetarian. Vegan, if you oil instead of butter. It's gluten-free. If you leave out the miso it would be soy-free.

Recipe scaled from Bean By Bean: More than 175 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savoy Beans, Even Sweet Beans! by Crescent Dragonwagon. The book is very good.