Soup in the Key of B-flat

I adore this soup. As it’s going to make up our main meals during this musical weekend, I thought I should assign a key to it. Something warm and not too too dark. I decided on B-flat Major. Maybe E-flat if you let it cook a little longer. If you take a taste and you’re only up to F Major, put it back on for a hour or so.

I know that I’ve posted it before, but I’m posting it again. TriCollie and I were talking yesterday, and we both adore this recipe. It’s super easy, it’s a one-pot wonder, and it’s one of the few recipes I make that give me that “I can’t believe how good this is” feeling when it’s done. Even when I end up leaving out the Worcestershire sauce. I always forget we don’t have any Worcestershire sauce. Perfect for leftovers too – we usually have the stuff over rice later in the week. It’s really that good. So come on now, make the soup. It will make me happy. And you too.

I’m going to be playing shows all weekend, so I wanted a heat-and-eat ready to go. If you need me, I’ll be the one behind the bass clarinet in the pit at Saranac Lake High School.

Great Northern Bean Soup (Lots of it.)

  • 2 lbs package dried navy beans
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato sauce if you want it more tomatoey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (or 1 tsp celery seed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 pound chopped, cooked ham or bacon
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot; place bay leaves on top, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for two hours. At this point, add carrots if you would like. Simmer for an additional two hours. Discard bay leaf. Add additional water to taste and strength/consistency desired.

* * *

And as a bonus – an easy basic custard recipe. It’s fairly bright, but not too much so. I’d say it’s probably played in the key of D Major. And to take the point even further, I think a nice, light D Major is an excellent compliment to a hearty main course in B-flat.

Basic Custard

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (omit if using a strong flavored topping)

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients. Easy. Cover and process until well blended. Pour into a greased 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 325° for 55-65 minutes or until custard bounces back when touched in center. It’s so easy it’s not even funny. Serve warm or chilled. Eat it plain or top with fruit, marmalade, or a fruit syrup. Or caramel. Or hot fudge.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Soup in the Key of B-flat

  1. the soup and the custard are right my alley for things I enjoy making and eating. Anytime I can put 4 of my fresh eggs into a recipe, I’m tickled. I wish I understand musical notes but I’m ignorant, wish you could tutor me.

  2. I made this last week and it was really good! Well, I vegetarian-ized it and used both navy and pinto beans, but it was the same basic recipe. Two thumbs up from this neck of the woods.

  3. 1- I just purchased more Worcestershire Sauce last week. I remembered we were out of it while cooking four times before that. Who knew so many recipes called for it?

    2- I try not to feed Rich that many beans. Perhaps it’s impolite to mention, but it’s the truth.

    3- I just printed that custard recipe. Looks yummy and easy- my kind of recipe!

  4. Corky

    I make that soup except my recipe is PA dutch and it has me add one small diced potato and one hard boiled egg.
    Don’t know what a difference it makes at all but it is very good.

  5. Oh, here it is Monday a.m. and i’m just catching up,… I’ll bet there aren’t even any left-overs! ACK! I’m too late!

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