Friday, November 03, 2006

Sally Lunn and Black Bean Soup Recipes

This was my first attempt at a Sally Lunn, and it was fantastic. Since my stand mixer is waiting for repair, I’ve been trying breads that don’t require quite as much kneading and batter bread is as simple as it gets.

A month ago I purchased the tube pan with a false bottom for about a dollar and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. I’m pleased to say that the bread came away from the pan with little effort, and it cleaned up quickly and simply.

The crust was buttery and crunchy while the inside was light and flavourful. In terms of simplicity, I cannot think of a less challenging bread. The recipe that follows comes from Beard on Bread, which I find myself returning to after many years. Most of the recipes are adaptable for bread flour but I made the Sally Lunn with all purpose and it worked well. After baking artisan breads for so long, it is a nice change to do a more delicate type of loaf. I served the bread with a dinner of black bean soup served over rice with a dollop of seasoned, mashed pumpkin.

For the Bread:

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup lukewarm milk
1 stick butter (unsalted) melted in milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 ½ -4 cups all purpose flour

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in mixing bowl and let proof. Add milk, butter, salt and stir well. Add eggs and blend well. Using a wooden spoon (I don’t know why, but that’s what Beard suggests) add the flour in small amounts until you have a stiff but workable batter. Cover the bowl and let rise slowly (took about 2 ½ hours here) in a cool place until doubled in bulk. Beat it down (again, with the wooden spoon) for about a minute. Scrape into a very well buttered tube pan (9 or 10 inch) and cover again, letting it rise until it has reached the very top of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and bake 40-50 minutes until the top is dark and sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles. Turn out of pan and cool on rack. Serve warm or cold (easier to slice cold).

For the Black Bean Soup:

1 package black beans (rinsed, sorted, and soaked overnight)
5 large carrots (diced)
4 bay leaves
1 large onion (chopped)
4-5 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chilli powder (more or less to taste)
4 chicken bouillon cubes (you could of course use broth if you have it handy-be sure to adjust for more salt)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (use the inexpensive type for this)
1 cup frozen corn (tinned ok, but soak to get rid of salt)
(*optional-1 small tin of tomato paste, a tablespoon of chipotle sauce, small cubes of boiled potatoes)

In a large pot, cook the beans by covering well with water, bringing to a boil and then immediately reducing to simmer. Cook with lid slightly tilted to vent for about two hours. Drain.

Using the same pot (why dirty another one?) add about six cups of water to all ingredients except for the corn and olive oil. Bring to a boil and again reduce to simmer for at least an hour but as long as three. When carrots and onions have all but fallen apart, strain, reserving liquid. Put the solids through a food processor until smooth. Return to pot. Slowly, add enough of the broth to get a nice consistency we prefer our soup on the stew-like side, you may prefer to thin it down a bit). Add the corn and olive oil and re-warm before serving. I serve this in a bowl over rice (brown works well for a hearty meal) with a dollop of roasted and mashed pumpkin that has been seasoned with garlic salt and olive oil.

This is one of my 22 month old son’s favourite meals-we call it “chunky chew”. I even made-up a song about it (doesn’t everyone sing to their children during meals?)

“The Chunky Chew Song”

Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Yes he eats it every day
And he always says, “ok!”
Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Chew! Chew! Chew!

Yeah, all right, go ahead and laugh, but he eats his vegetables. You don’t want to know what I have to do to get him to eat oatmeal…

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