Both shelled and unshelled, fresh cranberry beans are a thing of beauty. (So gorgeous, in fact, that we decided to use their photo for our homepage.) Theoretically, any dried or canned bean is a fresh shelling bean in late summer and early fall. But cranberry beans seem to be the most common. Yet, the word “common” is a bit misleading. You will only find shelling beans at farmers markets and farm stands. The drawback of shelling beans is (as the name implies), they must be shelled. Fortunately you only need about a cup of shelled beans for this summer soup recipe so it shouldn’t be too much work. Both tomatoes and corn peak during late summer. This soup recipe combines all three vegetables for a seasonal dish that can only be made a few weeks out of the year. Although you can vary the rest of the ingredients, in my mind, these three are essential to the dish.
Late Summer Bean and Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped or sliced into half moons
1 stalk of celery (preferably with leaves attached), finely chopped
1 cup of shelled fresh beans, cranberry beans or another variety
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped, including the juices
2 ears of corn, removed from cob, including the milky liquid*
Handful of fresh basil, or other fresh herbs, sliced or chopped
Salt and pepper
*Cut the kernels off the cob with a knife. Once the kernels are removed, use the back of the knife to scrape out the milk from the cob. Freeze husks and empty cobs to make corn broth.
Over medium heat, sauté the garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil. When the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, stir in the shelled beans. Add salt and pepper, and stir for a minute or two.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until your beans are tender. (The time will depend on how you like your beans cooked and how fresh they are. I like mine creamy so I tend to cook them for at least 30 minutes.) When the beans are done to your liking, add the bell pepper and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices. Also add the corn kernels and their liquid. Simmer briefly just to heat. Adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve, topped with fresh basil.
All quantities are approximate. Please don’t bother measuring anything. Do change the amounts to suit your preference. As written, the recipe is like a vegetable stew. Thin with more stock if desired. Also, start tasting your fresh beans after 15 minutes. If they taste mealy to you (and you don’t like that!), keep cooking them. For those of us who like our beans creamy, we don’t need to worry about overcooking them.
This summer soup reheats wonderfully for leftovers. I topped mine with a little cooked bacon.
This recipe is a kitchenlister original. It was inspired by the plethora of fresh vegetables available from local farms in late summer. WE WANT TO HELP MAKE SEASONAL COOKING A PART OF YOUR LIFESTYLE. NO EASIER WAY TO START THEN BY CREATING A FREE ACCOUNT.
The recipe detailed in this post was one of my Week in Review dinners for August 29–September 2, 2016.