It’s been a busy week, with much of it being spent out of town and in the car. Two back-to-back road trips to Minneapolis gave me some new restaurant experiences, an interesting apple detour (read about that in my column next week), wonderful tastes of kolacky and potica at the Czech-Slovak festival in Highland Park and a stop at Vinaigrette to stock up with more of their olive oils and vinegars. I slipped some work in between all of the fun.
A highlight of my eating experiences in Minneapolis was dinner at Sanctuary. The chef was introducing his autumn menu that evening. My dining partner and I started with Yellow Curry, Cauliflower and Potato Cream Soup with Cilantro Oil. It was smooth and creamy with just a hint of spicy curry at the back end of each spoonful that went into my mouth. It was wonderful. I also had huge, perfectly grilled shrimp that were served with salsa verde and pineapple sour cream. The meal was the perfect prelude to a one-block walk over to the Guthrie to see “The Master Butchers Singing Club.”
I tried recreating that lovely Yellow Curry soup to serve to my friend on her birthday yesterday. It didn’t live up to the delicious soup prepared at Sanctuary, but it was good, nonetheless. I’m going to keep working on it before I share it with you.
On my return home from one of those trips this week, it was time to prepare an evening meal. I was tired and didn’t have a whole lot of time. In the refrigerator I found the same ingredients that were in German-Style One-Dish Meal from my last blog post. I decided to turn it into soup with the addition of some broth and a can of pinto beans, both in my pantry. It was a hot, satisfying soup, full of flavor.
I didn’t use a recipe. But I kept track of what I used so that I could make it again. Because I enjoyed it so much, I’m sharing it with you. But, it’s soup, remember. So a recipe isn’t all that important. Use any kind of broth you have on hand, any kind of beans, any kind of sausage — just use what you like and stick to the basic proportions in the recipe.
I’d call this soup fast food — but healthful and made in your own kitchen. Think of it as that canned bean with bacon soup that you just mix with water. But, so much more with many healthful ingredients and much less sodium.
With Oktoberfest in mind, this soup is definitely German to me.
Oktoberfest Bean with Bacon Soup (and so much more)
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 chubby cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup beer
- 2 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 pound sauerkraut
- 1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage
- 3/4 pound cooked potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- Sour cream for serving
- Chopped parsley for serving
Fry bacon in a soup pot. When bacon is crisp, remove to paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Add olive oil to the bacon fat in pot. Saute onions until tender. Add garlic and saute for a minute more. Add beer, broth, sauerkraut, sausage, potatoes and beans. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all the ingredients are heated through.
If you don’t have cooked potatoes on hand, cut small cubes of raw potatoes and add them to the pot with beer and broth. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Then add sauerkraut, sausage and beans and cook until those ingredients are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Crumble bacon into a bowl and mix with chopped parsley. To serve, ladle piping hot soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of the bacon-parsley mixture. This will make 4 large fill-you-up servings of soup.