Monday, July 16, 2012

Bean and nettle soup with wild plums

We escaped from the heat in a large forest yesterday. The excursion took some hours along a fast flowing river under the shades of old trees and I was surprised to see new nettles  - fresh, soft and young. So I collected some handfuls. No, I did not have gloves, but my craving for nettles was so huge, that I took the risk. Yes, my finders have pins and needles now and they are covered with tiny red spots. But it was worth it. Coming home with my plunder, I decided to prepare a cucina povera dish from the Bulgarian cuisine - bean and nettle soup with wild plums. Although this dish consists only of simple ingredients, it has a rich and diverse flavor. With grassy softness of the nettles, fresh and sour taste of the wild plums and velvet base of the beans, it is deffinitely something to rememberThe perfect warm weather bean dish - good for vegans, vegetarians and everybody else. Recipe calls for crushed beans - the only reason for crushing beans is making them faster soft, if you prefer you can keep them whole. 

  • 1 cup beans
  • 200 g fresh nettles tops (about 4 handfuls)
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 15- 20 green wild plums
  • 1 Tbsp dry mint
  • salt to taste

Put beans in a food processor and pulse until it crushes in pieces (2-3 pulses are enough - idea is to crush a bean in 2-3 small pieces). Put in cold water to cover and simmer on medium heat for an hour until soft. Add salt and mint.
Wash nettles under running water and remove any thick stems. Blanch nettles in a cup of boiling water, drain and chop. Wash wild plums. Cut green onions into 2-3 cm large pieces (about 1 inch) and add to the beans. Stir in nettles and wild plums and boil for additional 5 minutes. Add some of the water where you blanched nettles to dilute the soup if needed. Serve at room temperature. 

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