April 13, 2010

Kidney Bean Spinach Salad with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Soup

A Turkish dish adapted to a Belgian kitchen. Essentially I made this with whatever was available from the corner grocery store (and the corner grocery store is basically like a Food Lion). Prepare the vinaigrette first. Then cook the onions. Give the onions enough time to caramelize - they need to be cooked over slow heat for 30-40 minutes. This should give you enough time to prep a simple mushroom soup.

Canned beans are mixed in with the vinaigrette then heated together with caramelized onions for like 2 minutes. The salad and bean-vinaigrette mixture can be mixed together if you'll serve all the salad; store separately if you have extra salad. Beans taste extra delicious the next day.

5-6 T fruity olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
3 T mixed herbs (mint, parsley, tarragon, thyme)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 14 oz red kidney beans (or garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained.

  1. Mix the olive oil with the garlic and chili pepper flakes until combined. 
  2. Stir in herbs, lemon juice, cumin, and beans. Mix together and adjust taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
For onions:
1 small or 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, cut into rings.
2 T olive oil or butter (probably 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil would be great)

Directions for onions:
  1. Heat up the olive oil or butter in a sauté pan, (cast iron if you can) over medium-high heat.
  2. Put the onions in, toss around until they are nice and covered with oil, and then turn the heat to low and stir occasionally until nice and golden (about 35-40 minutes). Prep other items, while the onions cook. 
  3. Once the onions are done, toss in the vinaigrette to the sauté pan, just dump the salad dressing with beans into the already hot pan (this adds a charming sizzle and really wakes up the herbs in the vinaigrette). 
  4. Warm for like 2-3 minutes and give it 2-3 quick fancy chef's tosses. Remove to a bowl. 
Mushroom Soup:
1 T butter or olive oil
1 small carrot, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 small onion or the other half of the medium onion you caramelized, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 small garlic cloved, minced fine
2 cups mixed mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed, and sliced
2 T red wine
1 vegetarian broth - no salt bouillon cube in 6 cups water OR 1 quart vegetable stock and 2 cups water
1 T thyme or Italian herbs
1 T parsley for garnish
pinch truffle salt or truffle oil

Directions for mushroom soup:
  1. Heat up olive oil or butter in a medium to large stockpot. Once hot add in carrot through garlic. 
  2. Pour in wine (this will give you a nice cooking show effect), broth, and the herbs, reserving the parsley for a garnish. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer, and partially cook for 30 minutes. This is really undersalted so adjust salt as needed.  Add in parsley and truffle salt and stir to combine. 
Assemble salad ingredients
I just reserved some raw mushrooms, and carrots from what I cooked, and added in tomatoes and measured about 1.5 cups of  spinach greens per person (a large bag). You could use bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, or other lettuces.  Top with kidney bean caramelized onion vinaigrette and serve with a steaming bowl of mushroom soup.

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