Saturday, September 1, 2007

Nearly instant "cream of whatever" soups, bean flour and more

Someone asked me how I substituted for milk in my recipes. My reply was that I use bean flour and water instead of wheat flour, butter and milk to make cream of ....soups. This recipe is both low fat and tastes really good. I was surprised when I made cream of chicken - with nothing more than bean flour, a bouillon cube and water!

Here's the recipe:

Grind up some white beans to a flour. Personally, I grind more beans than I need for the moment and store the flour in the freezer in a MARKED zip-type bag. The reason for this is that after being ground up, the bean flour will quickly loose nutrients. So you'll have calories and taste, but will be missing the nutrition you need.

Use 2 Tbs white bean flour per cup of liquid for thin soups, 3 Tbs for med and 4-5 Tbs for thicker soups or gravies per cup of liquid. Whisk into soup stock, water from your vegies or dissolve 1 bouillon or 1 Tsp soup base per cup of liquid and then whisk bean flour into it. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cook and stir for 3 mins. That's it. It's done.

You can also add this to already-made soup. You would use 1/2 cup to 1 cup for each 6 cups liquid in soup. (less flour, less thick. More flour, thicker soup.) Remove 2 cups of liquid from the soup and put in blender along with the amount of flour you want. Blend for 1 minute and add to the soup pot, slowly, whisking in. Cook for 4-5 mins over medium-high heat. Stir in once in a while. You don't have to use the blender, that just gives it a little better texture.

I've never frozen this, but beans freeze well and I don't see anything that would cause this to not work in the freezer.

I have tried the "cream of ..."soups, done 3 different ways. First tried the blender method, I followed the instructions below. I ended up blending it a second time. It was ok. I think I would have liked it better had I gone ahead and strained it as suggested. It wasn't as smooth as when I used the coffee grinder or my grain grinder.

Also, if you don't have a grinder (before I got a grinder, I used a coffee grinder - $8-10 new. I don't drink coffee, so it was never used for anything but grinding grains.) you can precook the beans a bit, then whir in a blender and strain them. Here's how:

Cook 1 cup dry beans (any kind but peas or lentils) in 3 cups boiling water for 20 mins. Drain and rinse. This should give you about 4 cups beans. Blend about 1 cup of beans at a time with 2 cups hot water on high speed. Repeat with the rest of the beans. (So you'll use about 8 cups of water for the 4 cups of beans.) Strain out any large pieces. Put the strained bean puree into a pot add 2-6 bouillon cubes or 2 T soup base to beans. Cook over medium heat for about 5 mins.

Use 3/4 cup peas or lentils to 6 cups boiling water, cooking for 10 mins, blend on high speed for 2 mins. Return to your pan and add 2-4 bouillon cubes or 2 T soup base and cook another 3 mins.

You can substitute this for any cream of whatever soup in your recipes. I'm not sure how much would equal one 10 1/2 oz can. Probably about 1 1/3 cups of thick soup for one can, undiluted. And probably about 2 1/4 cups thinner for a recipe that dilutes the soup. (So if the recipe calls for you to add 1 cup or one can of water/milk to the recipe, then I would consider it diluted.)

You can use this same recipe and vary the beans - pinto and black beans for "refried" beans, split pea for pea soup. Even lentils work. You can combine beans/flours. You can vary the flavor of your stock or bouillon. And don't forget to add seasonings for a change of pace. I add cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder to the "refried" beans. Makes a great dip! You can also open a can of mushrooms, use the liquid for part of the water, chop up those little morsels and add to the soup. Cream of mushroom!

Another variation is that you can make the soup without any bouillon and while the bean soup is cooking, nuke a package of ramen. (Break up the ramen, add water to cover it well and nuke for 3 mins.) Then add part of to all of the ramen flavor packet to the cooked ramen. Add the ramen to the now done soup. Good Eats! (sorry Alton Brown! Man, some days I miss not having tv)

Now to the cup of soup idea.

When you've ground the beans, or when you make your first batch of soup, make packets for the freezer. Place the flour, bouillon grains or unwrapped cube along with whatever seasonings you would like in a snack size ziplock bag. Squeeze out the air and zip it. Place into a larger, freezer bag and freeze. You can also do the math and make up one large batch, then figure up how many tbs to use for x amount of water. I'll leave that to the mathsperts. It's too late at night for me to be trying to divide tablespoons into cups and teaspoons into 1/2 cups.

Place one packet/serving into a large cup. Nuke for about 1 minute on high. Stir the contents of the cup and nuke for another 2-3 mins. I'd stop and stir it every minute. I want to try adding small pieces of tiny pasta to the cup before I cook it and I'm not adding more than 1-2 Tbs of miniature pasta. (I find it in the aisle with the Mexican foods - 0.25 for a 12oz bag.) You need to make a thinner soup for this. The pasta will need the liquid to cook and that will thicken the soup. I also want to try putting some in a cup and just pouring boiling water over it, letting it sit for 3 mins and trying that to see how it does.

Disclaimer: I haven't tried making the "cup of soup" recipe. But having cooked for a long time, I know it will work. I've done other recipes like this and they've worked out just fine. Long before instant grits or instant oatmeal, back when microwaves were new and no one had instructions for microwave cooking on their packaging, I figured out how to do regular grits and regular oatmeal in the microwave. These are also items that you have to stir while they cook. Only not so much in the microwave. I make long cooking grits, that I stir once or twice and regular oatmeal that I don't stir at all, in my microwave and they come out just fine. I also find I don't have to cook them for as long as you do on the stovetop.

No comments: