This morning a very serious, and somewhat threatening, message came through on the local Patch page: Wind Chill Watch, Temperatures will drop dangerously fast in Westchester. That ominous headline highlights probably the worst part of the year for me. The month of February: cold, dreary and lifeless. The world around me is in black and white. What little bit of color trying to express itself, it’s muted by the frosty cold. We are almost one month away until Spring – yet with my lap top temperature gauge flashing 18 degrees – that seems like an eternity. OK, I am being a little melodramatic, but you get the picture.
We are also at the lowest point of the year in terms of seasonal ingredients. I am very close to being at the end of my rope trying to be creative with potatoes and squash – as I am sure you are too. So when the ominous wind chill alert came through just about the only good idea in my head was a bowl of warm soup.
But what could I make? I only had a few ingredients at my fingertips and a sad little box of lima beans calling out to me from the freezer. Lima beans, while not necessarily loaded with vitamins, are a good source of cholesterol lowering properties. They are also a favorite of my husband (me? not so much), so I always have a package of frozen on hand.
This soup literally came together in just under 45 minutes, most of which was non-active time. Super fast and easy. After sweating the aromatics in butter
Puree in a high-speed blender with orange for a hint of citrus and apricot for sweetness.
then garnish with a little basil and extra apricot.
The test: I took some down to the train station when I picked him up after work. A couple of sips and he could not believe it was lima bean soup! So if you are expecting the typical flavor combination of bacon and or rosemary, this will rock your world. Warmly spiced soup, perfect for a cold wintery day.
Warmly Spiced Lima Bean Soup
1 medium onion, 1 cup roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped, ¼ cup
1 celery stalk, chopped, ¼ cup
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoons butter
Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 – 10 oz. package lima beans
1 quart of vegetable stock, divided
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 dry apricots, plus more for garnish
2 -3 basil leaves, finely chiffonde.
1. In a medium soup pot add the vegetables and butter. Over medium heat cook then with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, until soft and slightly browned. About 10 minutes.
2. Add the dry spices and cook for 1 minute to release their flavors.
3. Add the beans and 3 cups of stock. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then lower and simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the pot cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Pour into a high-speed blender and add the zest, juice and apricots. Puree for 1 minute until very smooth. Add the remaining cup of stock to get the soup to your desired consistency.
5. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If you think it should be a little sweeter add another apricot and puree again.
6. Pour back into the pot to keep it warm while you make the garnish. Finely chiffonade the basil by making a thin roll and slicing with a very sharp knife. Additionally dice the apricots in 1/8” cubes. Divide the soup in bowls and top with the feathery basil and apricot cubes.