Monday, December 31, 2012

Vegetable Soup with Black Garbanzos and Shiitake Mushrooms

The soup pot returns

With the decadence of the holidays behind us, I can't think of a better way to end the year than a comforting, immune boosting soup.  Why immune boosting?  For one thing, I've been doing a little research on boosting the immune system for an upcoming article and the more of these healthy foods that you can include in your daily diet, the better.

 One food that consistently appears on immune-boosting lists is mushrooms.

I've known about the powers of shiitake mushrooms for a long time, but check out this Huffingpost interview with mushroom expert Paul Stamets and learn how components in mushrooms can boost our immune system against cancer and other diseases.

Cascadia Mushrooms, at the U-District farmers' market sells some of these medicinal mushrooms, like shiitake mushrooms and lions mane.  Coming soon they say are fresh maitake mushrooms.   Aside from the many health benefits, mushrooms add great texture and flavor to soup.

Another great immune enhancer is garlic.  This year I've noticed more garlic sellers later in the season.  Nash's Organic Produce had some fresh as did a few other venders at the market.  River Farm has dried garlic and so far, no word on how dried garlic stacks up next to the immune boosting powers of fresh raw garlic.   I like to add garlic early in a soup recipe, then squeeze in a bit more just before serving.

Dark green leafy vegetables are also immune system enhancers.  Go for more of the cruciferous greens, since these are the greens that have been most studied.  These too are easy to find, especially in the Northwest where kale practically grows wild.   We have it year-round in yards and at the farmers' markets. 

With all these vegetables, you'll feel healthy just making this soup.

But what about beans?

Beans are the protien base for this vegetarian soup.   Beans also contain fiber and a good amount of magnesium. Black garbanzos have a better flavor and a less mealy texture than the white garbanzos.  You can buy black garbanzo seed from Irish Eyes and grow some of these gems in your garden this spring.   I've got black garbanzos on my list of "must try" new vegetables for my garden this year.

My cooking assistant gives this recipe four paws up.  Try it and see.

Vegetable Soup with Black Garbanzos and Shitake Mushrooms
(Serves 6)
I got black garbanzo beans at Whole Foods, but you can use biege garbanzo's or chickpeas if you can't find black garbanzos. Use a pressure cooker and this soup will be ready in 20 minutes. The sweet potato falls apart and becomes part of the background.  On the stovetop this soup will take an hour or more for the chickpeas to become tender.

1 1/2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
1 cup black garbanzos, rinsed and soaked overnight
28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
28-ounce can water
1 sweet potato, but into small chunks
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 bunch kale, washed and cut into small piece
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 to 2 cloves garlic
Croutons for garnish

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms.  Stir and cook until mushrooms soften.  Remove from heat.

2. Combine mushrooms, chickpeas, tomatoes, water, sweet potato, rosemary, thyme and sugar.  If using a pressure cooker, lock lid in place and bring pressure up.  Cook for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and let pressure come down naturally.  If using a pot on the stovetop, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until garbanzos are tender.  (You could also put the mixture in a crock pot and cook it all day.)

3. Stir the sweet potato into the soup when the garbanzos are soft.   Add the olives and kale and cook on low until the kale softens—about 5 minutes.  Add pepper to taste and squeeze in 1 or 2 cloves of garlic.  Garnish with croutons.

Here's to a healthy New Year!


Joan said...

This sounds totally delicious and full of goodies that I love anyway! Bonus! Can't wait to find black garbanzos...I didn't know they existed! Wonder if Marlenes has them. Great recipe! Thanks for it!

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Hi Joan--I actually found the black garbanzos at Whole Foods. I'd never seen them before but now that I've tasted them, I'm hooked. Thanks for stopping by! Happy New Year!

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
We just love a Vegetable Soup and your Vegetable Soup with Black Garbanzos and Shiitake Mushrooms looks delicious, we will really enjoy this soup. Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hugs to Finn!
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Miz Helen. It's a great easy soup. I hope you're getting off to a bright start this year!