Dutch Oven Love: Bean and Smoked Chicken Soup

My winter philosophy: if we're going to heat with gas, I may as well use the oven. I have been improvising recipes with my cast iron 6 quart dutch oven. Today's rainy weather was a good excuse for a simmered bean soup, but it had to be pork-free, since I wanted to feed it to a friend who doesn't eat pork. Luckily, Magnani's Poultry in Berkeley has some excellent chicken options. They've recently started house-smoking all kinds of things, and the half smoked chicken and smoked duck and turkey sausages that I picked up on the weekend really made the dish.

This recipe is simmered in the oven, in a cast iron pot. I think it tastes better than stovetop simmering, but I could just be looking for excuses to use my Staub cocotte and run the stove for a few hours.

Naomi's Crazy Good Soup for Them as Don't Eat Pork
(improvised from Catt's Autumn Soup recipe)

2 c. mixed beans, picked over and presoaked (4-8 hours in water, or in the pressure cooker for 1 min)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 smoked duck and turkey sausages
6 large cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped

12-16 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/2 smoked chicken
2 c. chicken broth
about 2 c. water

coarsely ground black pepper
rosemary, sage, chili flakes to taste

Place your dutch oven on medium-high heat. Slice the sausage into 1/4-in. pieces, and quarter the pieces. Heat the oil until it smells like olives. Add the sausages and saute them a minute or so, then add the garlic. Saute until the garlic smells like it's cooking. Add the onions, celery, and peppers and cook until onions are translucent. Cut the chicken into manageable pieces and add that to the pot, along with the pre-soaked beans, the tomatoes and their juice, and the chicken broth. Add 2 c of water, or however much water will fit in your pot. Add seasonings. Simmer for an hour or many, until the beans are cooked through and the soup tastes good. If you are using a cast iron dutch oven, you can simmer the soup by putting it in the oven at 325 or 350 and leaving it there -- the oven will heat the soup evenly from all sides, and the top of the soup will caramelize and become even tastier. (Not to mention the added benefit of heating the kitchen.)

When the soup is done, remove the chicken and pick the meat off the bones. Return the meat to the soup.

Posted by naomi on December 27, 2006 | TrackBack
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