Rancho Gordo Marcella beans – another form of delicious magic

When I had read on the Rancho Gordo website that they encourage you to use the bean stock for future soups and stews in cooking, I was a bit confused. When they say “bean stock,” did they mean the liquid leftover from initially cooking the beans? Because previously whenever I cooked beans (other than dal, which would usually disintegrate into the water and would become the main dish itself), I’d just discard the cooking water; it never really tasted like anything and just seemed like discard itself. So I figured this time, I’d try it to see how flavorful it was after simmering my Marcella beans for just over three hours over the stove. I did exactly what the recipe suggested for the roasted leek and white bean soup: I soaked the beans for about five hours, then I simmered them simply, with just water and a single rind of parmesan for three hours. I didn’t even add any salt or pepper until after my first taste. But when I took that first spoonful, I couldn’t believe it: it really WAS a flavorful, rich bean stock all in itself! It tasted like something slightly umami, a bit vegetabley, and rich. And once I added the salt and pepper, that bean stock easily could have been its own soup!

So I ended up reserving every last drop of that bean stock for my roasted leek and white bean soup. And it was another hit at brunch yesterday: our friends had second helpings, and I was just extremely impressed by how flavorful such a simple soup with so few ingredients could be. Rancho Gordo heirloom beans are definitely a hit!

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