Spring Onion, Barley and White Bean Soup

What do you do when you have spring onions from the farmers market and a big bag of arugula from your neighbor’s garden? Well, I start thinking about soup, the swirl of greens in a hearty mix of beans and barley, and bacon. It’s hard to go wrong with ingredients like that! The soup is a meal in itself but would also be good served with garlic bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Recipe very loosely adapted from The New York TimesBarley and Spring Onion Soup With Fava Beans.

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 oz bacon, diced
1/2 lb spring onions, sliced (bulbs and stems)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup barley
5 oz arugula (or baby spinach)
salt
pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat renders and the edges start to brown. Add the spring onions and cook until they are slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, beans and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in the arugula and cook until wilted and the soup starts to simmer again, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-5-B Saucepot, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl

Easy 3-Bean Turkey Chili with Chipotle

Chipotle peppers have been my “secret” ingredient in chili for years — I love the spicy, smoky flavor they bring to the dish. Lately I’ve been using them in their powdered form,¬† but you can also use the canned version with equal success. Throw in a little of the adobo sauce they come in, too.

My other favorite chili technique is using a variety of beans. Kidney beans for their traditional chili flavor, black beans for contrast and garbanzos for something unexpected. Cannellini beans and navy beans also work well.

The spice level here is mild-to-medium. You can pep it up by using a hot chili powder blend, adding more chipotle powder and/or adding red pepper flakes.

Note: Masa harina is a¬†nixtamalized corn flour used to make corn tortillas, typically found in the Mexican/international aisle of the grocery store. In this recipe I’m using it as a thickening agent, so you can do without just fine, but it also adds a subtle earthy flavor that is delicious! If you don’t have masa in your pantry, I recommend seeking it out — then use it to make your own tortillas. Homemade corn tortillas are really tasty and oh so easy — The Kitchn has a nice tutorial here.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 15-oz can red kidney beans
1 15-oz can black beans
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
2 tbsp mild chili powder
1 tbsp ground red chipotle
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp masa harina (optional)

Optional toppings:
shredded cheddar cheese
chopped green onion
sour cream

In a large pot (at least 5 quarts) over medium heat, saute onions in the olive oil until they start to go translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 1 minute. Then add the turkey and cook, breaking it up into bite size crumbles, until it’s browned through, about 7 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes (undrained), tomato sauce, beans (drained and rinsed), chili powder, chipotle and oregano, stir thoroughly and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the masa and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-5-B Saucepot; Corning Ware P-150-B Grab-It Bowl; Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl