Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soup in a Bread Bowl

One of the best surprise treats I’ve ever experienced was soup from a bread bowl from a street fair in Falmouth, MA. We stumbled on the fair and spotted eating one of my favorite dishes – New England Clam Chowder – out of bread bowls. I turned into a 5-year-old whining I NEEDED one! Surprisingly, it worked for me then (we bought it) and it works for the kids now (they eat it!). In fact, they love them! Now when the weather changes, I start to think about soup in bread bowls.

When I make it, I like to mix up the bread before work and let it rise in the oven all day, then bake it while making the soup. Plus, if I’ve made stock from the chicken earlier in the week, I’ll use the stock as the base for the soup. This recipe is for black bean soup in a bread bowl. The black bean soup is a Paul Prudhomme recipe.

Ingredients – 4 cups of unbleached white flour
3/4 cup rye or wheat flour
2 cups water (on the colder side if letting rise all day)
1 ½ Tbsp of yeast (or two packets)
1 Tbsp of salt Small handful of thyme, marjoram and/or oregano

Directions: Mix well in a mixer or a bowl. Turn out to a floured and kneed for 5-7 minutes until dough is smooth and firm. The dough might be very wet, so use extra flour generously. Cut into 4 sections and add to a well greased 9X9 baking dish. Put a towel over the dough and put into the oven to rise. When ready, bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown. Start backing the bread half way through the soup recipe below.

1 lb. dried beans, rinsed and kept overnight in a bowl or dish of water.
1 dried ancho chile, reconstituted and minced
1 dried guajillo, reconstituted and minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes – I will often skip this since it is spicy enough
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
4-5 stalks of chopped celery
6 cups chicken stock
4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1) Combine the spices and drain the beans
2) Fry the bacon in a large heavy pot (cast iron is best) over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes.
3) Stir in 1/2 the onions, the celery, and ½ the spices. Cover, and cook for 3 minutes.
4) Stir in 1 cup of the stock and scrape up the crust on the bottom of the pot. Add the beans, cover, and cook, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot, for about 20 minutes.
5) Add 4 cups more stock, second ½ of the spices, garlic and remaining onions, scrape the pot bottom clean, and cook covered until brought to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 to 30 minutes.
6) Stir in the remaining 1 cup stock, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir the cilantro, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 15 minutes.

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