Roasted tomato & white bean soup with wild rice and tarragon

Tarragon soup

My husband said that this soup tastes like a wintery memory of summer. I concocted a soup that tastes like a memory! I can’t tell you how happy I felt, hearing that. There is something about tarragon (and there’s an unapologetic 2 tablespoonfuls of fresh tarragon in this soup!) that tastes like a sensation from a memory or a dream. It’s hard to describe or place, but in some part of your mind it makes perfect sense to you.

I have to tell you, I made this soup in such a roundabout fashion I’m not sure I can make the recipe make sense for anybody else! I don’t have a lot of experience cooking beans from scratch. When canned beans are so good and so cheap, and so easy…well, I tend to rely on them! I also don’t have a lot of experience with slow cooker crock pots. I got one for Christmas (thanks, Ellie!) and I’m still trying to figure out how it works. So here’s what happened…I combined all the ingredients for this soup in a big sauce pan, I brought them to a boil, and then I poured it into a slow-cooker, on high. I left it there for a couple of hours, as I gadded about the neighborhood.

When I returned, I checked the soup, and the beans were still rock hard. So, being an extremely impatient person, I poured the soup back into a big pot, brought it to a boil again, cooked it for another hour, and it was perfect. The truth is, if I made this soup again, I think I’d use canned small white beans, or maybe pre-cook the beans and save the broth to make the soup. The wild rice will still take about 45 minutes to cook, so all the flavors will still simmer nicely together. That’s the recipe I’m going to write down. Someday I’ll try it and let you know how it goes.

Here’s Jimi Hendrix’s sweet Remember. One of my favorite songs ever!

1 small shallot – finely minced
1 clove of garlic – finely minced
3 T butter
1 t. mustard seeds
1/4 t. cayenne (or to taste)
2 cups cooked white beans (or one can)
1/3 cup wild rice
1 can roasted diced tomatoes (or, roast your own!)
2 T fresh tarragon
1 t balsamic or white wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients except the tarragon, vinegar, and pepper in a large soup pot. Add enough water or vegetable broth to cover everything by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked. I cooked it till the rice was quite soft – more of a pleasant thickener than rice, but you could stop in advance of that, if you like your rice more discernible.

Chop the tarragon and stir it into the soup. Add the vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper.

Note…I generally start a soup by warming the butter, then adding the shallot, then the garlic and herbs, etc etc, and you could certainly do that here!.

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